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Swine flu dogs Malaysia football.

5/12/2009 11:06:54 AM

The global outbreak of swine flu has claimed another sporting casualty as an under-23 football tournament scheduled to take place in Malaysia has been cancelled.

The Intercontinental Cup tournament, held in Malaysia for the first time last year when Nigeria beat Australia in the final, was scrapped by the Malaysian Football Association (FAM) over fears for players' safety.

Brazil, Mexico, Turkey and South Korea, as well as the under-23 Malaysian squad had been expected to take part in the tournament.

'Player safety'

"FAM are serious in upholding safety aspects as the outbreak of the influenza A (H1N1 virus) is very serious.

"Our priority is the safety of players," said FAM in a statement.

FAM secretary general Azzuddin Ahmad said that his association were aware of the importance of the tournament but that there was no reason to compromise the safety of players.

"FAM are also not able to reschedule the tournament as the FAM competition dates are already full," he told state news agency Bernama.

The World Health Organisation announced yesterday that its laboratories had confirmed 4,379 infections with the new flu strain.

The worst impact is still in North America, with 60 deaths.

The United States alone has 2,600 cases.

On Friday Mexican football teams pulled out of all tournaments organised by the South American Football Confederation (CSF) in a move sparked by rival teams' refusal to play in Mexico due to the swine flu outbreak.

The announcement came after players from Uruguay and Brazil refused to travel to Mexico for two scheduled games against Mexican teams San Luis and Guadalajara in the Libertadores Cup, a series of matches played by top clubs in the region. 2003 - 2009

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Date:May 12, 2009
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