Malaysia end Myanmar probe

Malaysia will not be making a further protest to the Asian Football Confederation over Myanmar's alleged use of overage players at the AFC Under-22 Asian Cup qualifiers.

Wan Zack Haikal

By Ian Griffiths

In the wake of the recent Group G qualifiers in Yangon, speculation had been rife that the host nation - runners-up to the Korea Republic - had used several players who were not born after January 1991 as stipulated in the competition rules.

The furore prompted Malaysia, who finished third in the group, to lodge an initial protest with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) a mere two hours after their 2-1 defeat to Myanmar in the group's final fixture. The Harimau Muda protest was believed to have focused primarily on Myanmar's alleged use of overage players.

The Myanmar Football Federation had responded by claiming that the players in question - one of which was alleged to be captain Kyaw Zayar Win - are, in reality, younger players who bear the same name as the players who would be too old to compete.

In a press conference in Kuala Lumpur on Friday, the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) stated that due to it being unable to take any evidence from third parties and an inability to question documents supplied by the Myanmar government, it would now not be making any further approaches to the AFC.

"The FAM has made a detailed investigation during which we received a lot of information from many different sources, including from the AFC," FAM general secretary Datuk Azzuddin Ahmad said.

"The evidence that was provided by the media and from various websites cannot, however, be used as evidence because the AFC does not recognize it.

"We can only go off the official documents that are sent by the Myanmar government to the AFC, and the AFC and the FAM do not question documents that have been released by the Myanmar government or any other government for that matter.

"These players (in question) have the same name, but they are two different people based on the image and official documents received from the Myanmar government.

"We are not sure what is behind these documents, but we can only refer to the documents that have been provided.

"The FAM was also careful that this situation would not jeopardise the good relations between Malaysia and other ASEAN countries," he concluded.

The AFC subsequently confirmed that due to the FAM not submitting any further evidence regarding the alleagations, they would not be investigation any claims that were made against Myanmar who, along with the Korea Republic, are now confirmed as qualifers from Group G of the AFC Under-22 Asian Cup qualifiers.

Malaysia fans are expected to protest against the FAM's stance at a rally in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday morning.

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