FIFA withdraws OK for Malaysia hosting G-14 CYC

The world football body FIFA has reportedly reversed its approval of the Champions Youth Cup scheduled to be played in Malaysia from 8-19 August. Although early Malaysian reports suggest that FIFA is concerned about the involvement of the G-14 association of major European football clubs, the surprise decision follows just days after the Football Association of Malaysia informed the Asian Football Confederation that it could not prevent a major promotion in Kuala Lumpur by the English Premier League club Manchester United during the playing of the AFC's prestigious Asian Cup because the match was a "government and private sector initiative".

The MU game is scheduled for 27 July - just two days after Kuala Lumpur completes its hosting of an Asian Cup group round and semi-final and two days before neighbouring Jakarta hosts the final and the AFC reminded FAM that its contract to host the Asian Cup clearly stated it could not sanction or promote any other footballing event during the tournament. On 14 November last year, the AFC directly warned Malaysia not to allow the proposed Manchester United tour affect publicity for the Asian Cup and AFC officials also met with officials of Malaysia's Sports and Tourism ministries to receive assurance that the Asian Cup will take priority.

On 26 April FAM's Deputy President Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Sha reportedly said "the agreement to bring United to Malaysia was initiated by the Tourism Ministry. We have been asked to provide logistical support and we will. United were scheduled to play here on July 25 but the organisers took the initiative to change the date. I hope the AFC understands that we are committed to the Asian Cup but we have to also support the Government’s initiative." He added he wasn't worried about possible [AFC] sanctions

Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said, Malaysia's Minister of Youth and Sports has announced that her ministry will withdraw from the CYC if the relevant authorities failed to get the tournament re-sanctioned by FIFA. "Though I have not received any detailed report from the Football Association of Malaysia the stand of the Ministry of Youth and Sports is simple. We will only recognise the Champions Youth Cup if it is sanctioned by FIFA," she said.

According to Jaiarajo Letchumanan of Bernama newsagency, "it was reported that after initially recognising the tournament, FIFA in an about turn had revoked its sanction for the CYC ... the tournament, which is a joint effort of the Sports Ministry, Tourism Ministry and the FAM and regarded as the biggest sporting attraction for the Visit Malaysia Year, was already gathering bad moist when the staging rights was announced as RM17 million ... It was also reported that FIFA's about turn had to do with the presence of G-14 general manager Thomas Kurth at the draw for the championship. The G-14 which comprises 18 top-most clubs in Europe is a body that has not been recognised by FIFA or UEFA which is the governing body for football in Europe."