KUALA LUMPUR: Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) president Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim warned of the consequences of making a unilateral decision to boycott an Asian Cup qualifying match in Pyongyang on June 8.
While agreeing that the security and safety of the national team is of paramount importance, Tunku Ismail said Malaysia could be expelled from the qualifying tournament by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) if FAM did not honour the fixture.
"If FAM do not allow the national team to go to Pyongyang, North Korea will be awarded a default 3-0 win," said Tunku Ismail in a statement on Thursday.
"In addition, we will be fined US$50,000 and expelled from the tournament.
"More worryingly, we might be barred from future AFC tournaments. The question is, what should we do? I really want this match to be played at a neutral venue for the safety of our players," he said.
On Tuesday, FAM appealed AFC's decision in ordering the Group B qualifying match to be played in Pyongyang, citing the "security situation in the region" as a reason.
The match had originally been scheduled for March 28, but was postponed due to rising diplomatic tensions between Malaysia and North Korea following the assassination of Kim Jong-nam, the estranged elder half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (klia2) in Feb.
Tunku Ismail said the FAM will defer to the government for advice in deciding whether or not the national team should make the trip.
"As FAM president, I do not agree at all that we should go to North Korea, but the decision lies with the government and the sports minister," added Tunku Ismail.
"My priority is the safety of Malaysian citizens.
"We should make a decision which places the safety of Malaysians as the main priority and not based on the political situation," he said.