Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Malaysia Tak Boleh?

Years back there used to be a slogan Malaysia Boleh! Malaysia can! Perhaps but does that apply to the FA there? This story comes from the New Strait Times and is either interesting or scary.

JUST when public sentiment is -- thanks to its firm stand on the Champions Youth Cup (CYC) -- swinging the FA of Malaysia's (FAM) way, the competitions committee is set to spoil it all and prove, once again, that what matters most in local football is the interests of the state affiliates.

The competitions committee, after several brainstorming sessions, has come up with a no-brainer whereby the Malaysian Super League (MSL) door will be shut to clubs next season.

The committee, chaired by Datuk Che Mat Jusoh, will propose that the MSL and Premier League next season have either 14 or 16 teams each but either format will still mean the same -- no clubs in the top tier of Malaysian football.

The excuse cited is that clubs can't sustain themselves but in the same breath, the committee will propose that Police and Armed Forces be in the MSL if the FAM council decides on a 16-team division.

What makes the proposal even more laughable is the fact that Armed Forces finished bottom of the Premier League and should, had FAM not decided on reviewing the format, be playing FAM Cup football next season. The proposal also means that 2007-08 Premier League champions Kuala Muda Naza and runners-up KL Plus FC will not be promoted to the MSL next season.

The injustice of it all, should the FAM council not decide wisely, is that both clubs finished ahead of full affiliates Kelantan (third in the standings), Sabah (fourth), Malacca (ninth) and Kuala Lumpur (12).

At the MSL level, the proposal means 'relegation' for Johor FC and UPB-MyTeam.For Johor FC, it will be a cruel blow as they finished third this season ahead of teams like Selangor, Perak and Pahang, the supposed aristrocats of Malaysian football.

MyTeam, in their first season in the MSL, finished 11th which meant avoiding relegation but the new format means Penang and Sarawak, 12th and 13th respectively, will still see MSL action while the reality-show team will play lower league football.

The committee will propose to the council, which is scheduled to meet after the Malaysia Games, that clubs be given the incentive of playing in the Malaysia Cup but in the first place, what exactly is the reason for a review which clearly is aimed at benefiting only state teams.

If the committee is worried about clubs being unable to sustain, shouldn't it be equally worried about the states for that is where we hear of late payment of wages, EPF and income tax.

Teams like KL have been playing before near-empty stadiums for decades. In fact, most teams are so obviously, fan support cannot be an issue here.

If anything, this smells just like what it is -- a move to allow state teams who are in the Premier League a back door entry into the MSL.

FAM has won over many with its firm stand on the CYC but should the states get away with the proposed changes to the MSL and Premier League, Malaysian football will have once again taken several steps backwards.

They couldn't...could they? I mean the whole thing is so illogical, nonsensical, irrational? Say it ain't so...

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