Malaysia have been issued with a formal warning and a raft of other sanctions from football’s world governing body FIFA after their World Cup qualifier against Saudi Arabia last month was abandoned because of crowd trouble.
FIFA took a dim view of the crowd disturbances in Malaysia and announced on Monday a series of penalties against the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM), which was hosting the match so deemed to be responsible for crowd control.
FIFA’s disciplinary committee ruled that the match had been deemed to be forfeited by Malaysia, awarding Saudi Arabia a 3-0 win, and Malaysia’s next World Cup qualifier at home, against United Arab Emirates on Nov. 17, would be played without any spectators.
FIFA also fined the FAM 40,000 Swiss Francs (£27,119) and issued a warning.
The visiting Saudi Arabia team were leading 2-1 in the Group A Asian qualifier at the Shah Alam Stadium in Selangor on Sept. 8 when play was stopped three minutes from the end after fans launched flares and fireworks on to the pitch.
Players from both teams fled the pitch as thick smoke began filling the ground and did not return. The match was later abandoned and a report on the incident sent to FIFA.
Malaysia have slipped to 171st in the latest world rankings and are already bottom of the group standings after suffering a record 10-0 loss to UAE, infuriating some local supporters who had threatened to protest during the match.
Dollah Salleh recently resigned as coach and the FAM appointed former international midfielder Ong Kim Swee as caretaker.
In the lead-up to last month’s match, Malaysian officials pleaded with disgruntled supporters not to disrupt the game and deployed hundreds of extra police in anticipation of trouble.