Friday, April 20, 2007

AFC "very unhappy" if Malaysia backs Man U tour

English Premier League club Manchester United’s promotional match against the Malaysian national team scheduled for 27 July - just two days after Kuala Lumpur hosts an Asian Cup semi-final and two days before neighbouring Jakarta hosts the final of the Asian Football Confederation's prestigious tournament - is in limbo. The AFC has reminded the Football Association of Malaysia that it had signed a contract to host an Asian Cup group stage and semi-final in which it is clearly stated that FAM cannot sanction or promote any other footballing event during the Asian Cup. The MU game appears to breach the terms of the contract.

"FAM has a contract with AFC as regards to the Asian Cup and we will abide by that contract. This is all I can say at this point in time," Datuk Seri Dr Ibrahim Saad, General Secretary of FAM, told Christopher Raj of the New Straits Times. "Malaysia has known about the tournament for the past two years and they agreed to do their best to promote the event, and we would be very unhappy if something like the tour of Manchester United encroached on the success of the 2007 Asian Cup," Clare Kenny, AFC Assistant General Gecretary, emphasised.

On 14 November kast year, the AFC warned Malaysia not to allow the proposed Manchester United tour of the Far East affect publicity for the Asian Cup. AFC officials then met the officials of the Sports and Tourism ministries and received assurance that the Asian Cup will take priority.

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