Man U, AFC fail to reach agreement

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Manchester United and Asian soccer's governing body failed to reach an immediate agreement to end the standoff over their proposed Asian tour.

Updated: May 24, 2007 18:27 IST
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Kuala Lumpur:

Manchester United and Asian soccer's governing body failed to reach an immediate agreement to end the standoff over the English champion's proposed Asian tour, despite a lengthy meeting between the two on Wednesday.

The Malaysian government, meanwhile, insisted it wants United to play as planned on July 27 in Kuala Lumpur.

The Asian Football Confederation has urged the newly crowned Premier League champion to postpone its four-country Asian tour over fears it will detract from the finals of the July 7-29 AFC Asian Cup.

"We have presented our case to Manchester United and fully explained our position ... We have made the request and we shall await the response," AFC president Mohamed Bin Hammam said in a written statement.

It was issued after Hammam met with Manchester United chief executive David Gill and Premier League chairman Dave Richards for more than two hours.

The two English sporting officials left the AFC office in their Jaguar without talking to reporters.

Hammam said that the AFC has "not left any stone unturned to seek a solution amicably, and we very much hope that we can all seek a compromise to protect the interest of the AFC Asian Cup 2007 and the development of Asian football."

The statement reiterated that the Malaysian government and the Football Association of Malaysia have a "contractual obligation" with the AFC not to host any other soccer competition during the AFC Asian Cup.

Nevertheless, Malaysia's Cabinet decided at its weekly meeting on Wednesday that the match should proceed as part of celebrations for the country's 50th anniversary of independence from Britain, Tourism Minister Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor told a news conference.

Malaysia will appeal to FIFA, soccer's world governing body, if the AFC imposes harsh penalties on the FAM, Tengku Adnan said.

The Asian Cup, the region's flagship tournament, will be jointly hosted by Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam.

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