Selangor Sultan disappointed with MFL for rejecting Selangor FC’s request to postpone Charity Shield match

The Sultan of Selangor has expressed his support for Selangor FC to not play the Charity Shield match against Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) tomorrow.

Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah Alhaj also expressed his disappointment with the Malaysian Football League (MFL) – the guardians of the domestic league – for rejecting Selangor FC’s request to postpone the match. Sultan Sharafuddin is patron of Selangor FC, while his son, the Crown Prince of Selangor, Tengku Amir Shah, is Selangor FC chairman.

JDT, meanwhile, is owned by the Regent of Johor, Tunku Ismail Ibrahim. The Charity Shield match – also known as the Sultan Ahmad Shah Cup, in honour of the former FA of Malaysia president who was the Pahang ruler – was scheduled to take place at the Sultan Ibrahim Stadium, in Iskandar Puteri, Johor.

Selangor FC decided to pull out late last night after MFL announced it had rejected the Klang Valley outfit’s request for the match to be played at a later date. The request was made following a series of attacks on footballers, including Selangor FC’s key player, Faisal Halim, recently.

In response, JDT said it was disappointed with Selangor FC’s decision and urged the team to reconsider, with JDT chief executive officer Alistair Edwards saying “this could set a precedent of teams pulling out because they feel unsafe, despite assurances from the Royal Malaysia Police.” Tunku Ismail had earlier condemned the attacks, urging police to “thoroughly investigate the cases and take appropriate action”.

“As the patron of Selangor FC, His Royal Highness is of the opinion that following several recent incidents that had threatened the lives of players and officials, it is only right for Selangor FC not to participate in the (Charity Shield) match, which is also the first match of the 2024 Super League,” read a statement by Istana Alam Shah, the official palace of the Selangor Ruler.

Sultan Sharafuddin also said that the priority, at this time, was the lives and safety of the players, and not to win the trophy.

He added that players were still shaken by the incident involving Faisal, who was splashed with acid while at a shopping mall in Damansara on May 5. The incident left him with fourth-degree burns, shocking Malaysians and hitting the headlines worldwide.

Just days earlier, on May 2, Akhyar Rashid of Terengganu FC was attacked and “robbed” in front of a condominium in Kuala Terengganu. Then, on May 7, JDT’s Safiq Rahim’s car was smashed by unknown assailants in Johor Bahru.

Sultan Sharafuddin supports the solidarity to rid violence in sports and wants every party to understand “the seriousness of these incidents.” He added that Selangor FC was ready to face any action for turning its back on the Charity Shield match. Police are still probing all three cases.

Football fans are also reminded of the episode involving a fan who was allegedly attacked at the Sultan Ibrahim Stadium during last year’s FA Cup final between JDT and Kuala Lumpur City FC. To date, there have been no updates from the authorities regarding the status of the case.