Thursday, May 21, 2009


Kelantan consider options


Kelantan, who are running low on moral and resources following the suspension of their home venue at the Sultan Mohd IV Stadium in Kota Baru, may be forced to withdraw from the ongoing Malaysian Super League (MSL) by next month.

Kelantan FA (Kafa) president Tan Sri Annuar Musa said at a post-match conference yesterday that the punishment meted out by the FA of Malaysia (FAM) last month had left them with not much alternatives but to consider “pulling out” as one of the options.

“We thought we could deal with the punishment on our own in a quiet way but we were wrong. It has actually left us in a critical situation,” said Annuar after the team fell to their fourth consecutive defeat in the Super League on Tuesday, going down 1-2 to Perlis in front of a near-empty National Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

Kelantan, who had projected a RM2mil income from gate receipts this season, lost Sultan Mohd IV Stadium as their home venue after two incidents of bad and violent behaviour by their fans on March 31 and April 11. Kafa were also fined RM90,000 for the incidents.

“Our main source of income is from gate collections at the Sultan Mohd IV Stadium. Our appeal (against the suspension of our home venue) was turned down by the FAM. If we are to continue like this, there is no way we will survive to sustain the financial demands in the top flight,” said Annuar.

He said that having to play their home matches in Bukit Jalil had taken its toll on the players. They are tired of travelling in and out of Kota Baru for matches in a short period of time. They would have played a total of five matches in 14 days from May 12 to 26.

“It boils down to fatigue. Even we officials are feeling the strain. What more the players? Winning and losing is part and parcel of the game but in our case, we are forced to play in a way to lose,” said Annuar.

He said that Kafa would decide on their next course of action at their council meeting scheduled for the end of the month.

“Kafa are in a dilemma over whether to continue under the present circumstances or to die half way,” said Annuar.

“There are about 16 home games left (including Malaysia Cup) and we stand to lose close to half a million from gate receipts. We will consider all avenues before we arrive at a decision. We hope to bring the matter up to the FAM again.

“If we exhaust all other channels and don’t get any form of support to resolve our problems, we have no other option but to withdraw.

“We have done our best to improve the situation back at the Sultan Mohd IV Stadium.

“The Police in Kota Baru have given us an assurance to provide adequate security and the state government have said that they would improve safety features at the stadium. The fan club have said that they will co-operate. All we ask is to allow us to play in Kota Baru again.”

If Kelantan choose to withdraw, the only consolation is that the players and team officials would not suffer from the decision. Annuar has given an assurance that players and officials would get their salary.

He added that the team would remain intact and continue to play friendly matches to raise funds to finance development projects.

Annuar also said that the trip to Old Trafford as promised for their success in qualifying for the FA Cup final would be fulfilled in August.

Kelantan are now in sixth spot in the Super League on 25 points from eight wins, a draw and five defeats.

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