Perak FA are not assured of a place in next year’s AFC Champions League qualifiers after the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) revealed that FA Cup champions Pahang FA can still appeal against their ban.
“If Pahang is interested to play in the AFC (Champions League qualifiers), they can still appeal to us for consideration. Right now, the ball is in their court, so the slot is still theirs. If they don’t want it, then we would look at other options,” said FAM deputy-president Datuk Wira Yusoff Mahadi.
According to the regulations, Pahang should have a crack at the AFC Champions League by the virtue of winning the FA Cup.
But the Elephants were earlier handed a two-year ban by FAM for refusing to play in this year’s AFC Cup, when Kedah FA were disqualified after failing to obtain their AFC license.
Kedah’s slot was offered to Pahang, but the Elephants refused to take up FAM’s offer to focus on the domestic league.
As a result, they were duly handed banned from the any Asian competition from 2019-2020.
Malaysia Football League chairman Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim had asked FAM to reconsider’s Pahang’s ban in the aftermath of their FA Cup success against Selangor, but the Elephants must appeal first.
“We have already been having unofficial discussions with them, and we hope they will make an appeal soon. There isn’t a time frame for them to do so, but we hope it is resolved as soon as possible,” added Yusoff.
If Pahang continue to turn a blind eye towards claiming what is rightfully theirs, then Perak FA would take their place, as the Malaysia Super League (MSL) runners-up.
MSL champions Johor Darul Ta’zim, meanwhile, will feature at the group stage of the AFC Champions League next year.
Photo Credit: FAM