Deputy PM confirms Malaysia’s inability to accommodate Israel at FIFA Congress

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Malaysian deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has said the country could not entertain certain FIFA conditions in accommodating delegates at the 2017 FIFA Congress.

It is a stand that may affect Malaysia’s chances of hosting major international sporting events in the future.

Malaysia have virtually closed its doors on major international sporting events after the Home Ministry confirmed it was best to avoid offending the sensitivity of the people.

World football governing body FIFA had, on Tuesday, stripped Malaysia of its 2017 FIFA Congress hosting rights, citing the possibility of some delegates facing difficulties in obtaining necessary travel documents.

Zahid, who is also Malaysia’s Home Minister, confirmed Malaysia’s diplomatic policies meant some conditions imposed by FIFA could not be met.

“Some of the conditions include placing the flag (Israel) on the table during the congress, so we understand the sensitivity of the people in the country,” NST reported Zahid saying.

“After comparing the benefits and the risks, it was better for Malaysia to avoid playing host.”

Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) have yet to respond to matter, insisting a statement would only be made after their executive committee meeting on Monday.

FAM, who received the government’s support when bidding started, were awarded hosting rights in December 2013. The Congress would have put Malaysia on the map as the 2026 World Cup voting was scheduled in Kuala Lumpur.

The recent developments have virtually ruled out a possible joint-bid for the 2034 World Cup, a topic the Sports Ministers of Southeast Asian countries have spoken about at great length during an Asean summit in KL last year.

Malaysia will also not be able to host the Olympics as the Israel national anthem cannot played nor the flag hoisted should Israeli athletes finish on the podium.