July 15, 2007 / 10:20 AM / 12 years ago

Soccer-Top Malaysian official resigns after latest defeat

KUALA LUMPUR, July 15 (Reuters) - The deputy president of the Football Association of Malaysia has resigned, one day after the co-hosts suffered a second straight heavy defeat in the Asian Cup.

Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah said in a letter faxed to local news agency Bernama on Sunday: “It is with deep regret that I would like to inform you that I have decided to resign from all my positions in the FAM today.”

No reason was given for his resignation but Abdullah was known to be unhappy with Malaysia’s performance in Asia’s premier international tournament.

Abdullah, also an executive member of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), criticised coach Norizan Bakar after Malaysia lost 5-1 to China in their Group C opener on Tuesday.

On Saturday, they suffered another heavy defeat, losing 5-0 to Uzbekistan, and are almost certain to be eliminated from the competition.

His resignation completes a difficult few months for Abdullah, who was also at a the centre of English Premier League champions Manchester United’s controversial trip to Malaysia.

The AFC put intense pressure on the FAM to cancel United’s proposed match against a Malaysia select team on July 27 in order not to divert attention from the Asian Cup final two days later in Jakarta.

Abdullah made the bold decision to carry on with the match and risk the wrath of both the AFC and FIFA.

In the end, his gesture of defiance was nullified with United cancelling the match because of AFC’s refusal to sanction their visit.

Abdullah was appointed FAM deputy president in February 1992 but resigned one year later. He was re-elected in 1994 and held the position until his resignation on Sunday.

Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia are the other co-hosts in the 16-nation tournament.

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