KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: FIFA is having to find a new host for next year’s congress after Malaysia pulled out of staging the event in Kuala Lumpur through a refusal to admit delegates from Israel.
One of the stipulations for hosts of any of the world football federation’s events – whether competitive or administrative – is that entry to the country is guaranteed for all members of the football family.
However the government of mainly Muslim Malaysia has told the local football federation, responsible for issuing the orginal invitation, that it was unable to provide visas to Israeli officials because it did not have diplomatic ties and did not want to create any local provocation.
Affandi Hamzah, deputy president of the Football Association of Malaysia, told local media: “We were advised by the government to withdraw from hosting the congress due to security issues.
“After comparing the benefits and the risks, it is better for Malaysia to avoid playing host.”
The withdrawal is an embarrassment for the Asian Football Confederation for endorsing the choice of Kuala Lumpur which hosts its headquarters. AFC officials are now negotiating to find a new venue.
Israel was absent from the 2015 Youth Sailing World Championships in Malaysia over the same issue of visible emblems and visas.
A FIFA spokesman said: “We can confirm that the 67th FIFA Congress will not be held in Kuala Lumpur as the Football Association of Malaysia was not able to fulfill all of the requirements for hosting the event.
“FIFA, in coordination with AFC will announce a new host in due time.”