KUALA LUMPUR: Southeast Asia’s football federation said on Tuesday it has told Malaysia’s soccer body to explain its failure to prevent a violent attack on visiting Vietnamese fans during the Suzuki Cup semi-finals.
The ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) sent the written demand on Monday, asking why sufficient security measures were not put in place, AFF Secretary-General Azzuddin Ahmad told Agence France-Presse.
The deadline for a response is December 15. The step can eventually lead to sanctions.
“Definitely, it is troubling. Other countries are also hosting the tournament but there is no violence,” Azzuddin said.
At least one Vietnamese fan was injured when Malaysian supporters reportedly attacked the visitors at the end of Sunday’s first leg in Kuala Lumpur, which Vietnam won 2-1.
The second leg in Hanoi on Thursday will decide which team reaches the final of the Southeast Asian football championship.
Police have said five people were arrested, and the incident prompted Malaysia’s sports minister to apologize to Vietnam.
Azzuddin declined comment on possible punishments, but local media speculated the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM), could be fined or forced to play games without spectators, depriving it of gate revenue.
Last week, the Asian Football Confederation fined FAM $10,000 over unruly fan behavior during a March friendly against the Philippines.
Following Sunday’s match, FAM’s website was reportedly hacked and defaced with Vietnamese-language messages. The website remained down on Tuesday, displaying an “Under Maintenance” notice.
The biennial Suzuki Cup is hotly anticipated by regional fans, whose national squads usually do not qualify for the higher-level Asian Cup.
Vietnamese football authorities have urged their fans not to retaliate against visiting Malaysian supporters during the second leg. AFP