Malaysian Govt: "AFC's views are not important"

The Government of Malaysia insists that English Premier League champions Manchester United will make their trip to Kuala Lumpur as planned, regardless of the wishes of the world football body FIFA, the Asian Football Confederation and the terms of the contract signed by the Football Association of Malaysia to co-host the prestigious AFC Asian Cup 2007. "I've verbally informed the Manchester United club that they can come to Malaysia and we will make arrangements with the team to facilitate their visit to Malaysia," Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor told state newsagency Bernama.

He said that in conjunction with the visit, a friendly match planned between Manchester United and a Malaysian selection would be held as scheduled on 27 July in keeping with the desire expressed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who is now on a visit to Japan.

Asked about the pressure and risks the FAM could face following the Cabinet decision, Tengku Adnan said the decision was made in the interest of the country and Malaysians.

"The AFC's views and risks to be faced are not important. What's important is that we have decided that Manchester United can come to Malaysia," he said.