Macarthur FC’s AFC Cup clash moved from Australia to Thailand over visa issues


Macarthur FC’s home AFC Cup match against Myanmar National League club Shan United has been moved to Thailand after the federal government refused to grant visas to Shan’s players.

The game was due to be held at Campbelltown Stadium but Football Australia confirmed it would instead take place at BG Stadium in Bangkok.

The change has also forced the A-Leagues to push back Macarthur’s home game against Adelaide from Sunday to Monday night.

In February, Australia slapped financial sanctions and travel bans against members of Myanmar’s military junta for human rights abuses and violent crackdowns on protesters, two years after the group seized power in a coup.

Shan United’s current and former owners are understood to have links to the regime and associated companies.

A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) said the government “does not comment on individual visa applications”.

“The Australian government strongly condemns the ongoing repression and violence by the Myanmar regime,” the statement said.

“We urge the regime to end violence against civilians, engage in dialogue, release those unjustly detained, and allow safe and unimpeded access for humanitarian assistance.”

???? This coming Thursday Macarthur FC ???????? were scheduled to host Shan United ???????? in the 2023/24 AFC Cup in Australia however the match is moved to be held in Thailand ????????.

The reason is that Shan United was not granted an entry visa to Australia by the Australian Federal Government.

— ASEAN FOOTBALL (@theaseanball) November 27, 2023

Macarthur travelled to Myanmar and beat Shan United 3-0 in their away group game at the Thuwunna Stadium in Yangon in September.

“Seven days prior to the fixture, being last week, we were informed that Shan United will not be granted entry visas to Australia by the federal government,” Bulls chief executive Sam Krslovic said in a statement.

“Failure to play this game will undoubtedly result in sanctions against the club and Football Australia.

“The club explored a number of possibilities and as such the game will be played as scheduled at BG Stadium in Bangkok.”

Macarthur sits top of Group F in the second-tier cup competition, and forfeiting Thursday’s game could have drawn sanctions, such as fines or suspensions, from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

They will instead attempt to consolidate their lead at BG Stadium, home of Melbourne City’s Asian Champions League opponent BG Pathum United FC.

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“This move to a neutral venue follows the Australian government declining to grant Australian visas for Shan United FC players and officials, meaning there was no viable way of playing the game on Australian soil,” Football Australia said in a statement.

“Macarthur FC sit atop of Group F, and should the club forfeit this match, it could lead to penalties as determined by the AFC.”

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