Still no word on venue
Football Association of Malaysia (FAM)’s secretary-general Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin has reiterated that they will not compromise on the neutral venue for the 2019 Asia Cup qualifiers match between North Korea v Malaysia.
The match against North Korea was initially supposed to take place at the Kim Il Sung stadium on the 28th of March. However, tension escalated between the two countries after Kim Jong-Un’s brother got assassinated at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport on the 13th of February.
FAM appealed to the Asian Football Confederation to reschedule the match to a different date and a neutral venue, due to security reasons.
Although the date for the postponed-fixture has been revealed to be on the 8th of June, the neutral venue for the match has yet to be decided. AFC was waiting on North Korea to suggest possible venues for the fixture.
On April 17, AFC Secretary-General Datuk Windsor Paul told Bernama that they would announce the neutral venue by the end of the week.
North Korea still wants to play in Pyongyang
However, a week later and there is still no word about the neutral venue. AFC is now checking back with FAM to see if tension between the two countries have subsided, as North Korea still want the match to be played in Pyongyang.
Nope, not happening – Datuk Hamidin
But according to Datuk Hamidin, the decision to play at a neutral venue is final and FAM will not compromise any changes to that.
“The AFC, as the representative of FIFA to organise the 2019 Asia Cup Qualifier, can decide although North Korea has sent a letter to the AFC stating they wished to play the match in North Korea.” Bernama quoted Datuk Hamidin as saying.
“North Korea had also assured the AFC that the safety of the Malaysian squad will be guaranteed.” Datuk Hamidin added.
AFC is also requesting additional documents like a letter from the government, Youth and Sports ministry, or the Home Ministry to support FAM’s request for a neutral ground.
According to Datuk Hamidin, it is very unlikely that Malaysia will allow their players to play in North Korea.
“What is important is that the FAM led by president Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim are not in favour of playing the match in North Korea.” Datuk Hamidin assured.
Other posts by Gowri Krishnan