KUALA LUMPUR - Johor crown prince Tunku Ismail Ibrahim has warned Kedah politicians from ruling party Umno to keep politics out of football, as tensions grow over a shortage of tickets for this Saturday's (Nov 4) Malaysia Cup Final between Kedah and Johor.
In a statement posted on the Johor FC Facebook page on Friday, Tunku Ismail said Kedah Menteri Besar Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah was "not firm", allowing his subordinates to meddle and create tension between fans from both states for their own political gain.
On Wednesday, former Kedah Menteri Besar and member of the opposition Mukhriz Mahathir had alleged that Kedah fans could not get their hands on match tickets because Kedah's Umno Youth wing had purchased the tickets in bulk to ensure that Kedah fans did not boo Datuk Seri Ahmad Bashah on Saturday.
Tunku Ismail, who is president of the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM), responded by requesting Football Malaysia LLP (FMLLP) to print an extra 1,000 tickets so that genuine Kedah fans, and not just Umno supporters, could attend the match.
"Political agenda should not be mixed with politics. Kedah and Johor fans should not fight with one another. This is what the politicians want as this is the political party's strategy used from before in order to divide and conquer.
"We have to be united to rid elements of politics in football," he said in his post.
The crown prince also ticked off the Youth, Sports and Culture state executive councillor Aminuddin Omar for threatening to boycott the match because football legend and ex-Kedah skipper Radhi Mat Din, who is a member of opposition Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS), would feature in the opening ceremony.
"I do not care if you are a member of PAS or a member of Umno because football or sports in general have nothing to do with politics. Radhi has every right to be there at the finals together with the Kedah fans as he has contributed tremendously for Kedah when he won the Malaysia Cup," wrote Tunku Ismail.
Tunku Ismail also said Mr Ahmad Bashah and Datuk Aminuddin were "the same culprits" who demanded FAM cover its own cost if it holds its exco meeting in Kedah, a departure from previous practice where host states footed the bill.
"It is as if they are deliberately hindering FAM from going to Kedah and hindering me from meeting the Kedah supporters whom I have utmost respect for," he said in his post.
The crown prince advised the youth wing of Kedah Umno to watch their tongues, and not forget that Umno was formed in Johor.
"When you are a politician, your job is to serve and be a servant of the people. You shouldn't be a politician just to satisfy your personal interests," he concluded.