BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
According to the Malaysian FA (FAM), the international friendly match between New Caledonia and Malaysia, played on June 22 in Noumea, has had its official status revoked by FIFA, due to a technical error on the host's part.
In a press release issued on Friday, FAM secretary-general Dato' Hamidin Amin explained that the federation has inquired with FIFA and the New Caledonian Football Federation (FCF) as to why the match, which Malaysia won 2-1, was de-listed on the FIFA website.
The statement explained that FIFA responded by stating that the reason the official status of the match was dropped stemmed from FCF's failure to appoint two assistant referees from the latest list of FIFA's international referees.
"The error in question is related to Article 10.1 of the 'FIFA Regulations Governing International Matches' which states that the hosts should ensure that the referee and assistant referees for matches assigned the "A" status, be picked from among those who are in the latest FIFA referees and assistant referees list.
"But the organiser of the New Caledonia-Malaysia match, only the referee was appointed from the FIFA list by FCF, while his two assistants were not on the list of FIFA's referees and assistant referees in 2016," explained Hamidin.
Hamidin also insisted in the statement that FAM has done its part to play the match according to the correct procedures, including acquiring the approval of Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) and Asian Football Confederation (AFC) for the match to go on, and the submission of match and referee's reports within 48 hours of the final whistle.
"Thus FAM has no other choice but to comply with FIFA's decision, which was not caused by an error on FAM's part, because it is apparent that it was a technical error committed by FCF," the statement continued.
However the consequence of the loss of ranking points from the match, the only match won by Malaysia in the three-match Oceania Tour, was acknowledged by FAM and Hamidin stated that it will appeal against the decision.
"...the association will appeal FIFA to consider reinstating the match as an official international match, by including supporting documents that prove that the technical error was caused by the host, FCF," he averred.
He ended the statement that the incident has also served as a lesson for FAM, in the future.
"The association will take this matter more seriously so as to not fall victim to negligence in technical matters on the host's part, when playing away international matches in the future," ended Hamidin.