Tough to fit AFF Cup into Fifa calendar anytime soon, says FAM president

PETALING JAYA, Feb 7 — Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) president Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin admitted that it would be tough to fit the Association of South-east Asian Nations (Asean) Football Federation (AFF) Cup into the Fifa calendar anytime soon.

The AFF council member said the AFF Cup simply took up too much time — up to a month — resulting in difficulties in fitting the biennial football championship into the present Fifa calendar.

Hamidin, who was recently chosen as a council member of football’s world’s governing body for the 2023-2027 term, did not deny the possibility that the championship could be realised if Fifa extended its calendar of international matches.

“We need to understand that the Fifa calendar is not specifically for the AFF Cup, so we might have to ask Fifa to provide more. Also, the calendar is not only for Malaysia but for all 211 affiliates… if an extension is given, maybe some countries might not be happy,” he told reporters at an event celebrating his appointment as Fifa council member in Wisma FAM in Kelana Jaya here today.

Hamidin, in his capacity of FAM national squad management committee chairman, said that the Harimau Malaysia squad needed to be in the top 25 Asian teams come the 2026 World Cup/2027 Asian Cup qualifiers at the end of the year.

“It is an important year… teams out of the top 25 Asian teams will start their (qualifying) campaigns in October while the top 25 will start in November. We need to plan our friendly matches well,” he said, adding that such plans would be announced by national head coach Kim Pan Gon.

In a separate development, he expressed his belief that Malaysia had the chance to host the World Cup after successfully organising the Under-20 Youth World Cup in 1997, but it would require careful planning and support from the government as it involved rather high costs. — Bernama