Pahang FA 'will never submit an appeal' for two-year AFC ban
Pahang FA insist they will not appeal after they were hit with a two-year ban from AFC competition following the club's refusal to participate in the 2018 AFC Cup.
This was despite the fact that Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) president Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim (TMJ) called for leniency after his own organisation imposed the ban on Pahang.
But even TMJ's intervention was not enough to convince the club to back down.
"The Pahang Football Association of the Federation will never submit an appeal against this decision as the Pahang Football Association remains in the conviction that the Pahang State Football Association does not commit any offense," a statement on the Pahang FA Facebook page said.
Pahang were invited to take part as 2017 Malaysia Super League runners-up, due to the fact that FA Cup winners Kedah did not have the necessary AFC licence.
However, the Elephants declined the invitation, insisting that they preferred to focus on their domestic challenge next year. They also expressed concerns about the financial impact of participating in the continental competition.
Pahang were given a Nov. 30 deadline to change their position, but they ignored this, prompting the FAM to take action.
They ruled that Pahang had failed to comply with its obligations to FIFA, the AFC and FAM.
"The Pahang Football Association is prohibited from applying AFC Club License for two years, in 2018 and 2019 to join the AFC Club Competition in 2019 and 2020; as well as being warned harder and heavier punishment will be imposed if it repeats the same mistake," a statement on the FAM website said.
However, a matter of hours later, FAM released a statement from TMJ, encouraging the club to appeal and for the Disciplinary and Appeals Committees to show leniency.
"I hope Pahang will appeal the Disciplinary Committee's decision as two years is an immensely long time," TMJ said. "I also hope that the FAM Disciplinary and Appeal Committees will consider my views and reduce the punishment if possible.
"Pahang is a great team with very good potential. They are a great team to represent the country in AFC competitions and will be able to help and improve the national team ranking in the future."
The FAM had warned Pahang that a refusal to play would damage relations with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and could harm other Malaysian clubs due to the effect on the country's ranking.
For example, Malaysia's champions will qualify directly for a place in the AFC Champions League in 2019, but the non participation of one club in 2018 could make it more difficult to maintain this direct route.
AFC guidelines also rule that if an eligible club refuses to take part, the country cannot replace them with another club.
But despite TMJ's vocal support, Pahang seem to have accepted their fate for now.
Meanwhile, the FAM also fined Perak RM35,000 due to crowd trouble in the first leg of the Malaysia Cup semifinal against Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) in October.
They were also ordered to play two matches being closed doors. One match will be played without spectators, while the other ban will only be imposed if there is further trouble between now and the end of 2018.
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