Manchester United's planned tour of Asia in July may have a
negative affect of the Asian Cup, Asian Football Confederation
(AFC) president Mohamed Bin Hammam said on Sunday.
Speaking before a meeting of the Asian Cup organizing committee,
Hammam said that the organization of different competitions in and
around the AFC Asian Cup is affecting the mood of the competition.
"The visit of Manchester United is of particular concern to us,"
The Asian Cup, which is co-hosted by Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia
and Indonesia, will be held from July 7 to 29.
"The Manchester United tour dates clash with the AFC Asian Cup
and AFC doesn't want any competitions to be promoted or organized
during the month of July.
"If the tour goes ahead then it will be a breach of the OAA
(Organizing Association Agreement)."
United are scheduled to play in Malaysia on July 27, just two
days before the Asian Cup final in Jakarta. They are also due to
make stops in China, Japan and South Korea.
The AFC and Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) signed an OAA
in November, under the terms of which the Malaysians were supposed
to ensure the Asian Cup would not be battling for publicity with
other football events.
The Asian Cup is being co-hosted by Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam
FAM president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah said last month
that Malaysia's Asian Cup responsibilities ended on July 25, when
they host one of the semi-finals. United's match is two days later
and so there is no conflict.
"There won't be a clash," Shah told local media.
(Xinhua News Agency May 8, 2007)