Malaysian FA backs Govt support for Man United

The Football Association of Malaysia has reportedly turned its back on solidarity with other members of the Asian Football Confederation and succumbed to pressure from the Malaysian Government to reverse its position on the planned commercial promotional game against a 'Malaysian XI' in Kuala Lumpur during ther Asian Cup by English Premier League club Manchester United.

"The FAM respects the statement by the Prime Pinister of Malaysia that the Manchester United tour should go on as planned to be part of the celebration for Malaysia's 50th anniversary" the FA said in a statement quoted by AFP.

"FAM will probably face consequences from FIFA and the AFC, but we are hoping to negotiate and appeal to them to sanction Man United's tour here in consideration of Malaysia's 50th anniversary," the statement added

"We have to abide by the ruling of the Asian football family. Manchester United can't come in July," FAM Deputy President, Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, told Reuters last week. Abdullah was speaking just after FIFA president Sepp Blatter and AFC president Mohamed Bin Hammam pleaded for countries to withdraw support for Manchester United's tour of Asia during the 7-29 July AFC Asian Cup.

"Malaysian officials were clearly taken aback by the show of support from the AFC's 45 other members, who all clapped loudly after Blatter and Hammam made their requests," the newsagency had reported. "We saw the reaction of the Asian football family and we have no choice," Abdullah said. "Malaysian fans will be disappointed. I sympathise but we know the wishes of the president and we have to support that."