Boy­cott or stay?

> FAM has fi­nal say over with­drawal, AFF warn of heavy im­pli­ca­tions

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

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

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