KUALA LUMPUR – The 2018 World Cup/2019 Asia Cup Group A qualifying match between Malaysia and Palestine will be played at a neutral venue on Nov 12.
FIFA, the world governing body for football, has agreed to hold the match which was earlier scheduled at the Dura Stadium in Hebron, Palestine, at a neutral venue.
Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) secretary-general Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin said the decision was made after FIFA held an emergency meeting which was attended by Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president Shaikh Salman Ebrahim Al-Khalifa.
Yesterday the FAM submitted an appeal to FIFA for the third time, urging the match to be played on a neutral ground due to the uncertainty of the safety conditions in West Bank.
Foreign media had reported that FIFA had postponed the match between Saudi Arabia and Palestine that was scheduled to be played in Palestine on Oct 13, because the Saudi side was concerned with their safety.
Meanwhile, FIFA in their website, www.fifa.com confirmed that Palestine’s two home matches against Saudi Arabia (Nov 9 which was originally scheduled for Nov 5) and Malaysia, three days later, will be played on neutral ground.
The world’s football governing body had also asked the Palestinian FA to provide details of the neutral ground in Asia for both matches.
FIFA added that the decision followed a meeting held in Palestine, yesterday between FIFA’s security officer and authorities, after which the Palestinian government confirmed that it could no longer guarantee the safety and security for the matches in question.
“In view of this, the Emergency Bureau for the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers has confirmed that the security guarantees cannot be compromised and that both matches need to be played on neutral ground,” FIFA added.