Malaysia sends protest letter after football team called 'dogs' by Indonesian fans

Malaysia sends protest letter after football team called 'dogs' by Indonesian fans
This picture taken on July 14, 2018 shows Malaysia's players celebrating their victory against Myanmar in the final of the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) U-19 Championship in Sidoarjo, Indonesia.
PHOTO: AFP

PETALING JAYA - The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) has sent a letter of protest to Asean Football Federation (AFF) and Asian Football Confederation (AFC) after provocative chants from Indonesian fans such as "Malaysia are dogs" and "Amirul is a dog".

This was during a match in Surabaya, Indonesia, between Malaysia and Thailand at the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Under-16 tournament. Malaysia lost to Thailand 2-1 in the Group B match on Monday (July 30).

Before departing for the tournament, Malaysia U-16 forward Amirul Ashrafiq Hanifah uploaded a picture of the team at the airport on his Instagram account, and included the Indonesian flag in the caption.

However, he mistakenly picked the white and red Polish flag, which is the reverse of the red and white Indonesian flag but has since apologised for his error.

"Nonetheless, action needs to be taken. I believe that it has to be done immediately.

"You have to be diplomatic but this is not a question of resolving the situation diplomatically," he said in a statement posted on Johor Southern Tigers official Facebook page.

FAM secretary-general Stuart Ramalingam in a statement said that the Indonesian fans had gone overboard with their insults and hopes action will be taken to prevent a recurrence of such an incident at the team's next match against Brunei on Friday.

"The action of sending in the letter of protest to AFF and AFC was swiftly undertaken so that both parties concerned can take the necessary actions in making sure the same thing will not happen during the team's next Group B match against Brunei in the same stadium this Friday.

"In making sure that the safety level of the team is assured, FAM has decided to send FAM exco member, ACP Mohd Dali Wahid, who is a high ranking police official to Surabaya tomorrow (Aug 1) to evaluate the safety measures implemented by the host nation and organisers.

"If it is found that the host nation and organisers are taking this issue lightly, FAM will not hesitate to take more drastic actions in the future," he added.

Stuart also hoped that AFF and AFC would seriously address this issue, citing a previous incident when Malaysia was fined US$30,000 (S$40,848) after Malaysian fans sang defamatory chants towards Brunei and Singapore during the men's football matches at the 2017 Kuala Lumpur SEA Games.

ALSO READ: SEA Games organisers slam 'Singapore dogs' football chant

Meanwhile, in a tweet, Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said previously action had been taken against Malaysia over the irresponsible behaviour of some Malaysian fans.

"Now, when our players are called dogs and threatened to be killed, FAM must take strict action and report it to the AFF. Stern action must be meted out," he said.

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