Sunday, November 30, 2008


Quality piece about Malaysian football

COMMENT - The Malaysian FA have a meeting on 6th December when they hope to make some decisions about the new season which should be starting in January. I suggest they pin this to the door of the meeting room and if anyone has any problems with what's written should just turn around and never return to football. Because they are likely to be the problem...not the solution

WE must get one thing straight here -- the FA of Malaysia's determination to develop football cannot be faulted.

It is not, unlike many other associations, averse to criticism and is consistently seeking new ideas from all quarters in its bid to find the system that will see Malaysian football rise again.
Last week's brainstorming session was the latest of several that FAM has had over the years and as active as the participation was from the 100-plus who attended, the result was the same as that from previous sessions -- states guarding their turf jealously.
The weaknesses of most of FAM's affiliates are well documented and it wasn't a surprise when the most vocal turned out to be those from state FAs which have a history of mismanagement. So poor are some that in any other decent league in the world, the governing body would have expelled the team until its administrators get their house in order.
But not FAM and, even if another hundred brainstorming sessions are held, nothing will be achieved if no action is taken against the errant ones.

It has been 14 years since Malaysian football went fully professional but besides spoiling mediocre players by paying them astronomical salaries, nothing else has been achieved. In fact, so mediocre is Malaysian football that we actually rejoiced when the national team's world ranking "improved" to 151 recently. The constant changes to the structure have made the league a butt of jokes and it is hard to imagine that the Japan FA, when it was contemplating introducing professional football, actually sent a delegation to study the Malaysian formula.
Today, the J-League is in a class of its own, its products are playing across Europe and the national team that Malaysia used to beat effortlessly is world class.
So successful is the J-League that its 2008 revenue is an estimated RM373.7 million while the MSL's television rights only fetched RM15 million, that too through FAM president Sultan Ahmad Shah and deputy president Khairy Jamaluddin's clout. Is that what Malaysian football is worth after all this years?
Former FAM deputy president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah was fond of saying that football is an industry which thousands depend on but after 14 years of the professional game, FAM and its affiliates must surely realise that it is a failing industry.
Sponsors are few, the game at the grassroots is slowly fading away and yet, the state affiliates are refusing to face the truth. The latest blow to the game came when Police FA decided to withdraw from the Super League, citing financial constraints. This comes after several clubs withdrew from the top two tiers of Malaysian football, also due to money.
This has given some affiliates the ammunition they were seeking to kick clubs out of the MSL and Premier League and it won't be a surprise if FAM does bow to their demands.
But before this happens, the states must first ask themselves why FAM opened the doors to clubs in the first place. It was a move taken to ensure the club structure does not die in Malaysia and a move which FAM took to protect those affiliates who had forgotten their primary responsibility -- developing the game. It is an undeniable fact that most state FAs have failed and there isn't going to be a quick remedy as long as FAM continues to pander to its affiliates.
The MSL needs to be restructured and that must start with it being downsized.
To ensure professionalism, interested teams must deposit a certain sum -- say RM2 million -- with FAM as a guarantee that they will meet their financial obligations. If only a small number are able to do so, FAM should just let the league run with these teams.
Teams should also be allowed to source their own sponsors while FAM's annual grant should only be used for grassroot development. Teams that can afford them should be allowed to hire foreign players as the no-foreigner ruling is only taking Malaysian football further backwards.
State FAs should also shed their volunteers image and hire professionals to administer operations if they are serious about the game. Sultan Ahmad Shah has, after a long time, publicly rebuked affiliates for not meeting their financial obligations but he mustn't stop there.He has to crack the whip even harder and if this means kicking an affiliate out of the MSL or Premier League, so be it. If not, another brainstorming session will be held in the near future and we will revisit the same problems again.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?