Malaysian team may be banished from home after violence

Updated: April 9, 2009, 2:49 AM ET
Reuters

By Ossian Shine

SINGAPORE, April 9 - A soccer team in north-east Malaysia may be forced to play all their home matches at a neutral venue in future following a spate of crowd violence at its Kota Baru stadium.

The latest violent incident followed Kelantan's 1-0 defeat in the first leg of their FA Cup semi-final on Tuesday, after which the visiting Negri Sembilan were trapped in their dressing room for two hours as fans ran amok.

"We need to raise several things, most importantly on security," Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) competitions committee chairman Che Mat Jusoh said.

"If there's a need, we will resort to moving all Kelantan's home matches to a neutral venue for good.

"This is the third incident involving Kelantan fans. It's clear that they cannot accept defeat. Incidents like this are not new in Malaysia and occur everywhere in the world, but it should be eradicated," he told the New Straits Times newspaper.

Kelantan goalkeeper Halim Napi has been suspended indefinitely for punching and kicking an opponent at the end of the semi-final.

Halim punched and kicked Negri defender Aidil Zafuan after the final whistle in a precursor to violence by sections of the 20,000-strong crowd.

Negri coach Wan Jamak Wan Hassan described the experience as "like being in hell".

"It was scary but I thank the police personnel and KAFA (Kelantan Amateur Football Association) for securing our safety.

"This is the second incident in two weeks involving both teams in Kota Baru. I don't know whether it will be wise for us to play there again."

FAM has moved Kelantan's Super League home match against Selangor on Saturday to the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

"We will also discuss with the police imposing tighter security at the National Stadium," Che Mat said. (Editing by Peter Rutherford; To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)

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