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 By Paul Murphy

Pahang given Thursday deadline by FAM after rejecting AFC Cup slot

ESPN FC's Jason Dasey and Dez Corkhill discuss Kelantan's great escape from relegation and prospects for the 2018 season.

The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) have given Pahang FA until Thursday to accept their place in the 2018 AFC Cup -- or face severe sanctions.

Last week, Pahang rejected the FAM's invitation to replace Kedah in the continental competition, after the FA Cup winners failed to obtain the necessary licence.

The Malaysia Super League (MSL) runners up indicated that they preferred to focus on the domestic game and were concerned by the financial costs of AFC Cup participation.

The FAM have been highly critical of Padang's decision. Technical Director Peter De Roo accused them of a lack of respect for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and felt it could compromise the country's relationship with the ruling body.

FAM president Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim (TMJ) also weighed in on the issue.

"What is the point of having an AFC licence when you reject the chance to play in the competition?" TMJ said, as reported in The New Straits Times.

Now FAM have now given Pahang a managed timeline to have a change of heart, according to general secretary Datuk Hamidin Amin.

"They have until Nov. 30 to decide," Datuk Hamidin Amin said.

"We cannot nominate a team other than Pahang to replace Kedah because the Asian Football Confederation does not allow it."

Former FAM deputy president Datuk Seri Redzuan Sheikh Ahmad said he hoped Pahang would reconsider their decision.

"There is no need to be egotistical when you get the chance, just show what you can do. It's embarrassing when people wonder why there are Malaysian teams refusing to compete," Redzuan said.

"It's such a waste because it's a golden opportunity for exposure at the highest level. You fight hard to qualify but once you get the chance to go, you reject it. Might have as well not fought so hard.

"I hope Pahang reconsider. You can't say you're not ready because you should always be ready."

Bangkok-based Paul Murphy has lived in Asia for a decade, writing for ESPN FC since 2014. He is a former Daily Express sub-editor. @PaulMurphyBKK

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