KUALA LUMPUR: The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) has denied allegations by a Cambodian football news portal that the Harimau Malaya squad plans to withdraw from the remaining 2022 World Cup/2023 Asian Cup qualifiers, as well as the AFF Suzuki Cup competition.
FAM secretary-general Stuart Ramalingam, in a brief statement, said the report was untrue.
“We at FAM do not have any plans to withdraw from any of the stated competitions,” he explained briefly in a WhatsApp message today.
The media report stated that Malaysia plans to withdraw due to the Covid-19 pandemic which has affected the national team’s preparations for the two tournaments.
Earlier, world body Fifa and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) had decided to postpone the 2022 World Cup/2023 Asian Cup qualifiers due to the current pandemic.
The postponement involves Harimau Malaya’s Group G matches previously scheduled against the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Oct 8, Vietnam (Oct 13) and Thailand (Nov 17).
Meanwhile, the 2020 AFF Suzuki Cup – also affected by Covid-19 – has now been rescheduled from April 11 to May 8 next year.
The tournament will be organised based on the full format, with home and away games at all eligible Southeast Asian countries.