KJ wants as­sur­ance on play­ers’ safety

New Straits Times - - Sport -

SPORTS Min­is­ter Khairy Ja­malud­din wants as­sur­ance that the na­tional team will “ar­rive, play and re­turn safely” from Pyongyang, North Korea.

Khairy was com­ment­ing on the Asian Foot­ball Con­fed­er­a­tion’s (AFC) de­ci­sion on Mon­day to let North Korea play Malaysia in Pyongyang in an Asian Cup qual­i­fier.

“There are no travel re­stric­tions, so we hope North Korea can en­sure the safety of our team,” said Khairy.

“It’s not be­cause of the tensions that ex­ist now but be­cause they are fac­ing a se­ries of is­sues in­volv­ing other coun­tries.”

Since the travel ban was lifted in late March af­ter a deal was struck in­volv­ing the re­turn of Kim Jong-nam’s body to North Korea, the AFC said the match will take place in North Korea’s cap­i­tal on June 8.

“I just hope that our team ar­rive safely, play their match and re­turn safely to Malaysia and that their safety is as­sured,” said Khairy. “When AFC made the de­ci­sion, we had to com­ply with it.”

The game was orig­i­nally sched­uled for March 28 in Pyongyang but it was post­poned due to se­cu­rity con­cerns.

AFC had given FAM un­til May 8 to con­firm the diplomatic sta­tus be­tween the na­tions fol­low­ing the death of the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at the Kuala Lumpur In­ter­na­tional Air­port on Feb 3. Farah Azharie

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