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August 15, 2016 2:54 pm

Malaysia Spurns Hosting of 2017 FIFA Soccer Congress Over Israeli Participation

avatar by Lea Speyer

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Malaysia has backed out of hosting the 2017 FIFA Congress because it does not want to associate with Israel. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Malaysia has backed out of hosting the 2017 FIFA Congress because it does not want to associate with Israel. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Malaysia has relinquished its right to host an elite soccer convention next year, because of Israeli participation, AFP reported on Monday.

According to the report, the predominantly Muslim country said it will not host the 2017 FIFA Congress, as doing so would require it to cooperate and associate with the Jewish state, with which it has no official diplomatic relations.

“Some of the conditions of hosting the event include placing the [Israeli] flag on the table during the congress,” Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Zahid Hamidi was quoted as saying over the weekend. “After comparing the benefits and the risks, it is better for Malaysia to avoid playing host.”

Affandi Hamza, deputy president of the Football (soccer) Association of Malaysia (FAM), told AFP that his group was “advised by the government to withdraw from hosting the congress due to security concerns.” 

FAM, backed by the Malaysian government, was granted the right to host the Congress in December 2013 — something that would have enabled Malaysia to contend for hosting the 2026 World Cup soccer championships.

According to the report, the move comes amid rumors of snap elections in Malaysia — which may come as early as next year — challenging the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition, led by Prime Minister Najib Razak, who relies heavily on the Muslim vote to stay in power. According to AFP, “The presence of Israeli officials could stir anger among Muslim voters.”

This is not the first time Israeli-Malaysian politics have spilled over into sports. In 2015, two Israeli windsurfers participating in the Youth Sailing World Championships in Malaysia were forced to miss the competition because Malaysian organizers refused to allow Israeli athletes to compete under their country’s flag or play their national anthem, Hatikvah, in the event of a victory.

The current Summer Olympic Games in Rio also have been marked by political controversy surrounding the Jewish state.

On Friday, as reported by The Algemeiner, an Egyptian Olympic judoka shunned the handshake of his Israeli rival, after losing to him in a first-round match. On August 5, the Lebanese delegation to the games refused to share a bus to the opening ceremony with the Israeli team. On August 7, Saudi Arabian judoka Joud Fahmy forfeited her first-round match against Christianne Legentil from Mauritius, reportedly in order to avoid competing against Israeli contender Gili Cohen in the next round.

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  • jack

    good, wonderful, excellant news. I am not insulted, in fact i am happy just like i am happy everytime an arab athlete forfits himself from competing against an Israeli – its a symptom of some arab/muslim countries primitiveness and backwardness.

    Malaysia will never be able to host any global sporting event or for the that matter any kind of global event at all and it will stay an asian backwater compared to Japan, KOrea, China and even tiny hongkong and singapor which are all global powers.

    AS a person whom has been to malaysia – Malaysia is a primitive shi***** compared to those countries doens’t matter how many skyscrappers or elevated trains they build – it can’t hide the corruption or poverty that exists there. the only ones whom are really successful there are the Chinese

  • nat cheiman

    Malaysia lost 2 planes in 3 months with passengers. Any compassion and sympathy for that country is down the drain.
    No wonder they struggle with economics and security concerns.

  • Ted U.

    This shows the absolute stupidity of the muslim countries.
    It shows how shallow they are, how unintelligent and racist they are. Why they are even allowed to apply to host these events is beyond me. If your religion isn’t tolerant of others then it isn’t a religion, it’s a cult.

  • Aryeh Green

    It’s not “Israeli-Malaysian” politics. It’s anti-Israel hostility otherwise known as anti-Jewish hatred otherwise known as anti-Semitism. Until you and other media outlets (not least Jewish ones) call it for what it is, we’ll never be able to effectively wake up the world (including the Muslim and Arab world) and see a change. Geez, Algemeiner.

  • Franklin Delano Paskutnik

    Malaysia is the home of one of the most virulent anti-semites of the modern Muslim world,namely Mohamad Mahathir,a former prime minister of the country. He once wrote that “the Jews are not only hook-nosed but understand money instinctively”. And he says “I am proud to be called an anti-semite!” He has made and continues to make the most malignant and pernicious anti-Jewish comments,which are applauded by his Muslim countrymen and the Muslim world in general without criticism or censure of any kind.This Muslim racist who is not only anti-Jewish but also anti-Chinese,anti-American and anti-Western – in fact anti-everything that is not Muslim – is today considered to be the great “hero” of Malaysia! I don’t know why there are not moves afoot to expel Malaysia from FIFA and other sports organizations due to it’s overt and blatant racism.Such a move is long overdue.

  • Ilbert Phillips

    It id clear that many Muslim countries have a problem dealing with Israel as a country entitled. What we need is world condemnation. Such behavior is unacceptable.

  • HP Benson

    It’s obvious the people of Malaysia and its government have succumbed to false statements and need to obtain the facts about Israel and the Jews in order to participate in world affairs and to be proud of its nation.

  • Lance Otto

    So much for the peaceful religion of Islam….

  • I have a group travel cruise going to several Malaysian ports in 2018. I believe I will take a consensus from the group and
    possibly cancel. I am really disappointed in the politics and
    ignorance of the abovementioned country’s leadership as well as those athletes from Lebanon, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. It is beyond words and beyond terrible including everything else that Israeli athletes have had to endure at the Rio games. The Egyptian was booed at the games. Thank you Rio for this.

    Linda Contract Edey

  • Marco Rudolph

    They did the world a favor.. Certainly anyone that would have to fly on one of their crappy airlines or stay in one of their crappy hotels or eat their crappy food in their crappy restaurants. Its a crappy country, just like all Moslem Countries are ( Turkey just joined the club ) lets stop being so PC… But WAIT ! Hmnnnn How many Jewish owned companies manufacture and import Malaysian made products into the USA ?

  • Good! Malaysia would be worse than Brazil. They lost 2 jumbo planes in a couple of months. And they’re corrupt and racist. They kicked Singapore out of their country because there were too many successful Chinese there.