LAUSANNE, Switzerland – Although the reasons for sanctions were different, world governing body FIFA on Monday announced a series of sanctions against the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) – following Indonesia’s footsteps.
Malaysia was sanctioned as punishment for the crowd trouble that wrecked the World Cup qualifier against Saudia Arabia on September 8. The sanctions on Malaysia come about 5 months since FIFA suspended Indonesia, after the Jakarta government sought to oust the country’s football association.
Militant fans angry at the 10-0 humiliation in a previous match to the United Arab Emirates fired flares billowing orange smoke at Shah Alam Stadium as Malaysia trailed the Saudis 2-1 in the final minutes of the tie.
Players and officials then hurried from the field and Saudi fans ran from the stands as flares flew around the stadium. 11 people were arrested but no one was reported injured
FIFA’s Disciplinary Committee said in a statement that their investigation of the incidents showed that FAM was “liable for the spectators behavior.”
As a result Malaysia‘s next home match – a World Cup qualifier against the Emirates on November 17 – is to be played behind closed doors, FAM is to be fined 40,000 Swiss francs ($40,000) and issued with a warning.
Furthermore, the committee decided that the match be declared to be lost by forfeit by Malaysia 0-3.
Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa has already said the regional body was “extremely concerned” by the violence and would support any investigation by FIFA.
The crowd trouble at the Saudi game has been blamed on the “Ultras Malaya” group of hardcore supporters, who accuse the FAM of incompetence and had threatened to disrupt the match.
Hooliganism, match-fixing and humiliation on the field – Malaysia has emerged as Asian football’s problem child, with the country’s most popular sport rapidly becoming a national embarrassment.
Singapore meanwhile, has vowed to amend its constitution next year after FIFA demanded an end to political interference in the appointment of the national body’s council members to avoid suspension. – Rappler.com