FAM WELCOMES AFC’S MOVE TO POSTPONE MATCH
It’s the best decision in view of the circumstances and safety, says official
THE Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) welcomed the decision to postpone indefinitely the national team’s Asian Cup qualifying match against North Korea in Pyongyang.
The Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) Competition Committee took the decision to postpone the Group B fixture, originally scheduled for March 28, due to “escalating diplomatic tension between the governments of North Korea and Malaysia”.
“A new date for the game will be announced in due course,” AFC said in a statement yesterday.
FAM secretary-general Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin said it was the best decision in view of the circumstances.
“FAM welcomes AFC’s decision to postpone the match as the right one for the sake of the safety of players and officials of the national team,” he said.
“FAM will leave it to AFC to determine when the match should be played and will extend our full cooperation in coming to an agreement.”
Hamidin added that the national team’s friendly match against the Philippines on March 22 in Manila, which was meant to be a warmup for the North Korea fixture, will go ahead as planned.
“This is to ensure that the national team retains an opportunity to improve its Fifa ranking of No. 161.”
Due to rising tension between the two countries, FAM had
asked AFC to switch the Group B fixture from Pyongyang to a neutral venue.
However, AFC rejected that option after the Hong Kong Football Association said it would also seek to have its match against North Korea in Pyongyang shifted to another venue should AFC rule in Malaysia’s favour.
Hong Kong and Jordan, which will play against each other on March 28, are the other two teams in Group B, where the top two teams qualify for the 2019 Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates.
Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin