Malaysian FA apologises in racism row
The Malaysian FA have apologised to Chelsea following the London club's complaint over anti-semitic abuse directed at midfielder Yossi Benayoun.
However, the statement plays down the incident which saw the Israel international jeered every time he touched the ball during a recent friendly in Kuala Lumpur.
"The FA of Malaysia have received a complaint from English Premier League side Chelsea FC over alleged racist abuse targeted at Israeli midfielder, Yossi Benayoun, during a friendly match with the Malaysian XI in Kuala Lumpur on 21st July 2011,'' the statement read.
"From our initial observations, if such an incident took place, it would have involved a small section of spectators at the match and this surely does not reflect the feelings of the majority of fans in this football-loving country.
"The FA of Malaysia would like to strongly register that we do not condone any form of racism in football. If such an incident did happen, we would like to apologise to the player concerned, and also to Chelsea FC.''
The Israeli was barracked every time he touched the ball during the game against a Malaysia XI. When briefing the media after the match, Chelsea suggested the abuse was a consequence of a bad tackle by Benayoun but after reviewing the incident fully, the London club subsequently decided to lodge a formal complaint.
Chelsea issued a response to the Malaysian FA's apology, saying they are now prepared to draw a line under the incident.
"We appreciate the prompt attention the Malaysian FA (MFA) has given our complaint," the Blues said in a statement.
"Chelsea Football Club is committed to eradicating all discriminatory behaviour from the game and urges the MFA to take appropriate steps to stamp out this type of behaviour in future.
"The club and Yossi accept the apology, and the matter is now closed."