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PETALING JAYA: The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) welcomes and appreciates the Regent of Johor, Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sultan Ibrahim’s (pix) willingness to donate hybrid grass for the National Stadium’s pitch in Bukit Jalil.

FAM Competitions Committee chairman Mohd Firdaus Mohamed, however, said the governing body will conduct an assessment to determine if the field is suitable for use in the Group D second round 2026 World Cup/2027 Asian Cup Qualifiers against Taiwan on June 11.

He said this is because it is understood that the Harimau Malaya home ground may be used as a venue for a concert soon.

“We are indeed grateful for the donation of the pitch by Tunku Ismail. To me, the match against Taiwan is crucial, so perhaps the new technology introduced and gifted by Tunku Ismail can help, (however) we will make a visit and there’s no compromise.

“We will only use the field if it can be used because the players are our priority. We do not want players to be injured because this is their livelihood, so FAM must take that responsibility,” he told reporters after the launch of the official ball for tournaments organised by FAM at Wisma FAM here today.

Asked if there are any other venues that FAM is considering, he said they have two in mind - either the Sultan Ibrahim Stadium in Johor or the Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Stadium in Kuala Terengganu.

“We used these two stadiums before and I have no problems with them. I’m more concerned about winning (because) if we can beat Kyrgyzstan (in Bishkek on June 6), then the match against Taiwan will be decisive,” he said.

Mohd Firdaus is confident that head coach Kim Pan Gon’s men are the best available but the poor pitch condition has been one of the reasons for their unconvincing performances of late.

According to a post on the official Johor Southern Tigers Facebook page yesterday, Tunku Ismail agreed to donate hybrid grass to replace the National Stadium’s Zeon Zoysia grass pitch.

The Regent made the decision following a meeting with Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh and Asian Football Confederation (AFC) secretary-general Datuk Seri Windsor John yesterday.

This is the second time that Tunku Ismail, who is also the owner of JDT, has assisted the National Stadium after donating Zeon Zoysia grass, which was planted earlier last year to replace the Cow Grass.

The quality of the grass at the hallowed turf of the Harimau Malaya squad has often been a hot topic, especially after several instances where it did not meet satisfactory standards following the hosting of concerts, particularly before the 2023 Malaysia Cup final and several matches involving the national team.

The ongoing problem then saw the Youth and Sports Ministry issuing a short-term moratorium to prevent the installation of any stage structures for concerts on the field until the condition of the grass reaches a satisfactory level.