The saga of the Azlan Shah Cup 2012 continues as Australian coach Ric Charlesworth has confirmed that they had declined the invite to participate in the tournament.
Thus the question of them confirming participation and then withdrawing does not arise at all. And this now raises the question who had advised the MHF President Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah that the team from Down Under had agreed to participate.
Below is the email received from Charlesworth with regards to this issue:
" Since I have been the coach of Australia we have been delighted to play against Malaysia at every opportunity.
" You have a very spirited and skillful team. Indeed we have played Malaysia more than any other team...twelve times!
" We only received the invitation a couple of weeks ago and declined because for more that 6 months we have had a series planned with Argentina and Netherlands in Perth. The dates are Feb 7-19. I assume that is why both these teams are not available also! As soon as we received the invitation we declined.
" Our programme has been in place for more than six months. We are playing against NZ in June. At the beginning of May we are in Europe. In March we will play Japan and another team...we were to play korea but their qualifier caused them to cancel. We would be keen to find a place for Malaysia as they are a quality team, our closest neighbour and always generous hosts.
"The new dates...I have not heard of these... could be of interest to us but would be unlikely to attract interest from the Europeans so close to the Olympics."