Boycott or stay?
> FAM has final say over withdrawal, AFF warn of heavy implications
FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION OF MALAYSIA (FAM) and Asean Football Federation (AFF) came out strongly against calls for Malaysia to withdraw from the on-going AFF Suzuki Cup in protest against the treatment of the Rohingya community.
AFF general secretary Datuk Seri Azzuddin Ahmad warned Malaysia of heavy implications if the government decides today to demand that FAM pull out of the competition.
There have been calls – mostly from outside the country’s football circles – to boycott the final Group B match between Malaysia and Myanmar in protest at Myanmar’s alleged mistreatment of the Rohingya community in the state of Rakhine.
Myanmar stand accused of systematic killings and genocide but AFF and FAM both insisted withdrawal was not an option to be considered as the implications for Malaysia would be far greater.
“AFF is upset that some quarters – including Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin – have spoken of the possibility that Malaysia will withdraw from the Suzuki Cup,” said Azzuddin.
“I wonder if some learned people have thought of the greater implications if Malaysia withdraw from the on-going competition.
“It will be seen as government interference and FIFA does not tolerate this.
“A blanket ban on football by FIFA will disrupt many things. Football in Malaysia will not be able to go on. There will be no football at the SEA Games and even Malaysian clubs will not be able to participation in any competition. “The AFF disciplinary committee will also deliberate on the matter and there are regulations which state Malaysia could be banned from competing in the next two Suzuki Cup editions. “Furthermore, please don’t bring football into this. There are many other ways that Malaysia could show their protest if they wanted to.” FAM general-secretary Datuk Hamidin Amin stressed that it does not make sense to withdraw with just one match remaining and hoped the Cabinet ministers will make the right decision on Friday.
He also insisted that the FAM executive committee will have the final say.
“I do not agree with the idea of pulling out.
“The government should think of other ways to protest and not make football the scapegoat,” said Hamidin, who is also the Tigers team manager.
“Ultimately it is FAM’s call whether to withdraw or not. If the government decides so, our executive committee will have to make a decision whether to abide by it or not.”
Myanmar will be awarded a 3-0 default win if Malaysia withdraws and that will also put the Burmese into the last-four as the Malaysia-Myanmar tie is a deciding match in the group. – FourFourTwo