Malaysian tourism boss says MU decision "wierd"

After talks with Manchester United officials in London, Malaysia's Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor told Bernama news service that fans may have to wait next year to see the English Premier League champion play in Malaysia. "I've done my utmost. I apologise to MU fans in Malaysia. It looks like we have to wait next year," he said via teleconferencing with Malaysian journalists in Valencia and London after the meeting. MU, represented by relationship director Nick Humphreys and two other officials, Keith Impey and Nick Lockwood, explained that the club could not meet Malaysia's request as it did not want to face any action from the international football governing body, FIFA.

Tengku Adnan said he was disappointed with Asian Football Confederation , led by Mohammed Bin Hammam, for refusing to consider Malaysia's appeal for MU to be allowed to play in the country on 27 July. "What I find weird is that AFC allows the club to play in Japan, Seoul and Macau," he added. He said if AFC feared that MU's presence in Kuala Lumpur could have implications on the Asia Cup, then it should consider allowing the club to play in Johor Baharu or Penang.

MU cancelled its friendly match with Malaysia on July 27 after FIFA president Joseph S`Blatter and Bin Hammam refused to give the greenlight because it coincides with the Asia Cup. MU, in a message posted on its website, said the club would not come to Malaysia if there was a dispute. Meanwhile, Humphreys, who was present during the news conference in London, reiterated that it had always been MU's wish to play in Malaysia to show their appreciation to the local fans. "However, in this case, we have to listen to AFC. We have our law and regulation. It's really an unfortunate situation that we have to cancel the trip to Malaysia this year," he added.