Malaysia v UAE Under-23

For FAM, silence is golden

The fans want blood.

But those in the FA of Malaysia (FAM) have zero interest in pursuing action against UAE over the brawl during an Under-23 friendly match at Shah Alam Stadium last Friday.

Why?

The Malaysian team cannot cry foul because its players had retaliated against their rivals on the field as video replays will confirm.

And in this case, Datuk Ong Kim Swee could lose more players as his squad leaves for Indonesia today for the 18th Asian Games.

Obviously, none in FAM are willing to go on record to say this. To them, silence is golden in this situation.

Ong was already in a sticky situation before the match as Pahang refused to release Matthew Davies and Nor Azam Azih. Pahang defeated Selangor in a Malaysia Cup Group D match on Saturday.

Ong was also forced to drop Negri Sembilan striker N. Thanabalan whose knee injury is yet to heal.

With just a small pool of talents, he cannot afford to lose more players.

And last Friday’s retaliation on the pitch means both parties will be held accountable and could face severe punishment, including suspension.

As hosts, FAM submitted the necessary reports, including those by the referees and match commissioner, to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). Now the ball is in AFC’s half to see if action will be taken against Malaysia and UAE.

And it is really AFC’s call at the end of the day. Following its standard operating procedure (SOP), the matter will be taken up to its disciplinary unit who will then decide if it should be brought to the disciplinary board. In most cases, the national FA is issued a show-cause letter to be replied to within 14 days.

Pending the severity of the incident, the disciplinary board can either wait for its meeting which will be held in a month or two or get the chairman to decide on the matter. Or they could even organise a tele-conference to discuss the incident.

The fact that last Friday’s encounter was merely a friendly, and not a qualifier, will be taken into consideration.

But if AFC sees this as a pressing matter, it could speed things up.

Will action be taken against the UAE official who manhandled a police officer during the melee?

A senior football administrator questioned if the policeman should have been at the sidelines to begin with.

“Stewards should be in the stadium and at the sidelines. Even at the World Cup you see stewards, not policemen or army personnel on the sidelines,” said the official who declined to be named.

“Uniformed personnel are only brought in for crowd control. It just smacks poor organisation.”

Given the current situation, the national footballers do not need more distractions as they play Kyrgyz Republic (Aug 15), South Korea (Aug 17) and Bahrain (Aug 20) in their Group E matches.

As for FAM, they can only earnestly hope AFC will slap them with fines and nothing more so they can quickly forget the ugly episode and move forward.