|Attack: A Vietnamese fan wipes blood from his head after he was attacked by Malaysian hooligans during the first leg of the AFF Cup semi-final match between Viet Nam and Malaysia at Shah Alam stadium on Sunday. — Photo vnexpress.net
HA NOI (VNS) — Malaysia's Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin yesterday condemned home fans and apologised to Vietnamese supporters following the violent attacks during the ASEAN Football Federation-Suzuki Cup semi-final match in Selangor.
"I condemn in the strongest terms the violence which took place at the AFF-Suzuki Cup semi-final fixture between Malaysia and Viet Nam at the Shah Alam Stadium last night," Jamaluddin wrote in a letter sent to Viet Nam News yesterday.
"Although only a small segment of Malaysian fans turned unruly, their violent conduct directed at the visiting Vietnamese fans was completely unacceptable and has tarnished Malaysia's reputation," he stated.
"This is clearly not the Malaysian way. Violence is not and was never part of our culture. The vast majority of Malaysian fans were respectful, courteous and hospitable last night, and I am saddened that the football match was marred by the actions of a small number of hooligans," he further asserted.
"I would like to apologise to the Vietnamese fans for the behaviour of these unruly fans, whose actions have been condemned by many Malaysians," Jamaluddin posted on his Facebook account, sharing that he personally witnessed the assaults directed against the Vietnamese fans at the Shah Alam stadium.
The attack happened after Viet Nam defeated the hosts 2-1 during the first leg game on Sunday.
It was reported that towards the end of the match, fans from a section of the Malaysian crowd started throwing plastic bottles at the Vietnamese supporters.
Both sides were eventually embroiled in a violent fight. At least one Vietnamese fan was injured in the clash at the end of the rain-soaked match, while five people were arrested.
The minister disclosed that he has asked the police for cooperation in expediting the investigations.
"Given that the photos of the assailants have been widely circulated on social media, I hope that the police will swiftly bring those responsible to justice," read the letter. The minister added that the police vowed to be proactive and swift in their investigations.
The second leg match will be organised at the Ha Noi's My Dinh Stadium on Thursday, in which Viet Nam only needs a draw to advance to the final. In his letter, the Malaysian leader also promised safe passage for the fans who will be travelling to Ha Noi later this week.
Viet Nam Football Federation (VFF) General Secretary Le Hoai Anh yesterday confirmed that the Vietnamese side will guarantee the security and safety before, during and after the Thursday match, for the Malaysian fans going to My Dinh to support their team.
Anh said that VFF also sent a document to the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) asking for a clear answer.
Last week, the Asian Football Confederation fined FAM US$10,000 for the misbehaviour of Malaysian fans during a friendly match against the Philippines in March. — VNS