FIFA approves G-14-backed U-19 Cup in Malaysia

The world football body FIFA has re-endorsed the G-14-backed Champions Youth Cup being played in Malaysia during 5-19 August. "In accordance with article 76 of the FIFA Statutes (International matches and competition), the Football Association of Malaysia was instructed to cancel a friendly match against Manchester United that had been due to take place in Kuala Lumpur during the period of the AFC Asian Cup. The same association was given permission to hold the “Champions Youth Cup” from 5 to 19 August 2007," an official news report on FIFA's Executive Committee meeting stated.

The CYC tournament will involve U-19 teams from G-14's members, AC Milan, Ajax Amsterdam, Arsenal, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Porto, Inter Milan, Juventus, Manchester United, Paris St Germain and PSV Eindhoven plus invited teams from Boca Juniors, Flamengo, Chelsea, Qatar and hosts Malaysia. According to Malaysia's The Star, FIFA President Sepp Blatter acknowledged that “The teams taking part are not just from the G-14 group but also Qatar and Malaysia.”

FAM General Secretary Datuk Seri Dr Ibrahim Saad earlier revealed that when "the event was initially known as the G14 tournament last March" FAM had "informed FIFA of our disapproval" as the G14 group, which represents 18 of Europe’s top clubs, is not recognised by FIFA or UEFA. But "after the organisers – UK-based Gifted Group Ltd – decided to change the competition from a G14 event to CYC which will include teams from Europe, Asia and South America" FAM then "requested for FIFA’s sanction of the event" which resulted in FIFA's approval on 8 March.

FIFA's abrupt withdrawal of its endorsement followed just days after the FAM informed the Asian Football Confederation that it could not prevent English Premier League club Manchester United playing a football game in Kuala Lumpur during the AFC's prestigious Asian Cup because the match was a "government and private sector initiative".

Despite threats of legal action by G-14 and GGL, the fate of the two events have seemed intricately linked ever since.

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