Hot Topics: Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

Barcelona blasted!


FRIENDLY MATCH: Spanish club slammed for not consulting FAM regarding KL trip

BARCELONA have been accused of being disrespectful to the FA of Malaysia (FAM) after making a unilateral announcement to visit Kuala Lumpur without consulting the national governing body.

   FAM was forced into issuing a statement last Thursday denying it was contacted by the Spanish club about the possibility of playing here before Barcelona announced on Monday they will coming to Malaysia on Aug 10 as part of their pre-season Asian tour.

   It was only yesterday that an agent, claiming to represent Barcelona, approached FAM to discuss details of the club's visit.

   "Oh yes, definitely," said FAM general secretary Datuk Azzuddin Ahmad when asked if Barcelona's actions were disrespectful to them.

   "We welcome their intention to play here but they did not consult us about coming here. If anything were to go wrong, it is FAM who will be blamed and criticised.

   "This (yesterday) morning, a company, claiming to be acting on behalf of Barcelona, met me to discuss about a game to be played here. We need assurances and have to see the documents that these people indeed have a contract with Barcelona.

   "We can only make an announcement when everything is above board," said Azzuddin, who declined to name the company promoting Barcelona's visit, in Subang yesterday.

   Azzuddin also said the Aug 10 date set by Barcelona is not suitable as it falls on the third day of Hari Raya.

   "We need to discuss the date as well and preferably have them come earlier. We will wait for their feedback," added Azzuddin, who contrasted the professionalism of Barcelona's representatives to that of Chelsea's.

   "Their conduct makes us very uneasy. Pro Events, Chelsea's promoter, approached us months in advance to discuss details of their friendly match."

   The announcement of Barcelona's visit, which would be their first here, has painted FAM into a corner though vice-president Datuk Subahan Kamal welcomed the opportunity for the national team to play a side featuring four-time Fifa-Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi.

   "This is good if it's true and we welcome the chance to play them. Why not?" said Subahan, who is also the national team manager. "I am sure a lot of Malaysians would like to see them play here."

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