Manchester United replica shirts have been banned from being worn by Malaysian Muslims by a leading Muslim cleric, the Mufti of Perak, Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria.
He claimed that Muslims wearing such football shirts are on ‘a path of sin’.
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The red devil on the club’s emblem is the source of the perceived evil from leaders of the Muslim faith in the country.
Alcohol brands and crosses are also among the offensive iconography under scrutiny.
Other team’s shirts considered sinful are Brazil, Portugal, Barcelona, Serbia and Norway’s, all of which feature depictions of the cross on their team emblems.
"There is no excuse for wearing such garments because it means, as a Muslim, you are idolising the symbol of another religion," said Datuk Nooh Gadot, the Mufti of Johor state.
"Even if it is a gift, we should decline it. It is even more sinful when people realise this is wrong and still buy these jerseys to wear."
Manchester United enjoys the status as one of Malaysia’s most popular clubs and visited the country as part of their Eastern tour last summer, but it remains to be seen what impact this ban will have on the club’s international replica jersey sales.
David Gill, Manchester United’s chief executive, seemed convinced United would retain their stronghold on the region.
"Anyone who went on our tour of the Far East last summer knows the strength of feeling that Malaysians have for the club," he said.
Despite ownership issues highlighted by the yellow and green scarf protest last season, Forbes magazine still regarded Manchester United as the world’s most valuable club in April of this year.
Forbes valued United at £1.19 billion, a sum boosted by the international support United boasts.
By Mark Boothcomments