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No 2018 AFC Cup for Kedah and here's why

Kedah will not be able to compete in the 2018 AFC Cup despite winning the FA Cup as they have failed obtain an AFC Licence. The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) have nominated Malaysia Super League (MSL) runners-up Pahang for the competition instead.

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Kedah players may have been looking forward to the prospect of playing in a continental championship when they won the FA Cup in May, but those AFC Cup aspirations have been forced to be put on a back-burner for now.

According to a joint statement by the FAM and Football Malaysia Limited Liability Partnership (FMLLP), Kedah had failed to submit their audited accounts in time and while they have been issued a national license – after appeals – to confirm their participation in the 2018 MSL, an AFC licence will not be granted.

At this date, Kedah was not able to submit their audited accounts which is a mandatory criteria. AFC also made it clear that no documents outside the CLAS system can be considered

- Datuk Hamidin Amin

"Only documents that are uploaded onto the AFC Club Licensing Administrative System (CLAS) before the date of the First Instance Board will be reviewed to ensure if license is issued correctly," read the joint-statement issued by FAM general-secretary Datuk Hamidin Amin.

"At this date, Kedah was not able to submit their audited accounts which is a mandatory criteria. AFC also made it clear that no documents outside the CLAS system can be considered.

"The Appeals Body chose to accept Kedah’s late submission of the audited accounts to give them room to be considered for a national license. This is allowed for in the regulations whereby exceptions may be made for the granting of national license.

"However, if an AFC license was granted at this point, it would not be proper as the CLAS system would reflect that there were no audited accounts submitted. Should Kedah been issued an AFC license and nominated for the AFC Cup, it would possibly mean that on an audit by AFC, they may find that the license was wrongfully issued and penalise FAM accordingly."

The statement explained that Kedah were given ample time to get their licensing in order but have failed to stick to deadlines.

FAM also defended itself from criticism and conspiracy talk, saying that Kedah have been well informed over the matter and were already told on November 1 that they would be refused an AFC licence.

Malaysian football has taken a more serious approach in financial matters since Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim took helm of the body in March

Malaysian football has taken a more serious approach to financial matters since Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim took helm of the body in March.

Kelantan, T-Team, ATM and Perlis were the first to receive FMLLP’s wrath after they were deducted six points – later reduced to three points after appeals – for not complying with FMLLP's registration requirements.

The teams failed to submit financial documents and were warned that failure to get things in order by the end of the 2017 season could lead to further sanctions, including demotion to the lower tier or worse being expelled altogether.

Photos: Asiana.my