Tuesday, December 11, 2012


The Poison That Chokes Football

Football clubs in South East Asia are nothing like the image we have of football clubs in the west. They are not the oligarch run club with deep pockets exuding arrogance neither are they the plucky non league club held together by one old chap who collects the money at the turnstile, produces the matchday programme and cuts the grass on the pitch.

Football here doesn’t even fit in between those two extremes. Most clubs in Indonesia, Malaysia and even Thailand have some connection with local government. The people who run the clubs have some kind of connection with local government.

As such their default mode is too wait for a subsidy. They don’t market their clubs because they don’t know how to. Cash flow is something they see in the casinos of Singapore and Macau, not in their football club.
Those clubs that are privately owned often have owners with their own agenda and motives. In Thailand for example politicians and big business have jumped on the football bandwagon that begun in 2009. And these are a breed who don’t take defeat kindly. Not when it’s them that lose.

Malaysia and Indonesia have a handful of privately run clubs but it is obvious the experiences learnt rent seeking or running a near monopoly business aren’t being applied to the football. Who the hell can come up with football club names like My Team, LionsX11, T Team, PLUS (a highway), SPA etc?

The average chain smoking, Blackberry wielding club official may be a decent enough bloke. But there is nothing in his background that equips him for his football role. If he has no money he just won’t hand anything over. He won’t publicise it, won’t make a song and dance out of it. He’ll just do nothing. Because that is what he is used to.

In his real world people don’t complain too much. They can’t. Government officials yield a lot of power and they are usually answerable to other government officials who will usually side with their own when it comes to disputes; unless they decide it is in their interests to do otherwise.

Local governments are not the best at being transparent. The officials are surly and believe they are doing you a favour by even being allowed in their hallowed domain. You are their under sufferance and you are made to know it.

There will be no leaflets telling citizens their rights, no charter and no hint of rules and regulations. The law sits behind a desk and is a petty potentate of all he surveys. He is a big fish in a small pond with a pension and job security.

These guys don’t repair the roads. They may have black and white lines painted on the kerb to prove they have spent their annual budget and can they please have an increase next year but actual repairs are carried out haphazardly and as cheaply as possible. Graffiti is allowed to stay on bus shelters while trash accumulates due to the lack of any organized collections.

People arrive late to work, run their own business from their desk and go home when they want.
Against this background there is little wonder footballers don’t always get paid. It’s the way they have been brought up. They have sinecures without responsibility. Theirs is a mindset of trivia, point scoring and regulations. Sticklers for paperwork being in the right order when it suits them they have the power to make nothing happen for a long time if they feel they are not being adequately respected and all that entails.

And these are the people who, with some exceptions of course, who run the majority of football clubs in this country.

Football, says Sir Alex Ferguson, bloody hell. The knight of the realm, I fear, doesn’t know the half of it.

a good read!

to add the list of those awkward/silly names for football teams in malaysia:

-KL POS Malaysia

sooner or later, Tesco FC, Mydin FC.

by the way, Kelantan announce that their team is now The Red Warrior FC, under Kelantan FA.

Same goes with Johor FC becomes Johor United then suddenly Darul Takzim FC, under guise of JOHOR FA.
Then there's another team the Premier League names as Johor. All
under JOHOR FA.

It's rather confusing.

I didnt want to come across as picking on Malaysia!

You're right about Johor. It was worse last season when there was also MPJB!
^^ Would like it if it's renamed Johor City (as in Manchester City).
Is it legal in the first place, or is it FAM cannot say no to such in the second place...
South East Asia, especially Indonesia, has a very large number of football fanatics,, that is a profitable source of income.. see how European football industry makes use of it..

but unfortunately, the local football governing body sees that potential from a different point of view.. they use it for political purposes..

Sad but true..
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