FAM deny report Malaysia plan to withdraw from World Cup qualifiers

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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.

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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.

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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.

-FMT

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