Wednesday, October 21, 1992

Soccer could go up in smoke

THE call by the FA of Malaysia president, the Sultan of Pahang, to rethink
any ban on sponsorship from cigarette companies should be given a serious
thought in the interest of soccer and other sports.
At a time when sports in the country is heading towards excellence and
organising international events like the Commonwealth Games, World Youth
Soccer tournament, international badminton tournanments and other
international events, a ban on sponsorship from cigarette companies will
be a crippling blow.
It will definitely put soccer in dire straits as FAM have made long term
plans especially in youth development with the aid of these sponsorship.
The funds are from Dunhill - for 10 years from 1989 to a tune of $6.25
million annually.
State FAs are funded by FAM and taking away these grants will kill
soccer in most States.
The Semi-pro League gets 40 per cent of the sponsorship money from
Dunhill while 60 per cent goes to youth development, coaching seminars,
referees courses, Centres of Excellence, inter-district and age-group
State FAs take up $2.4 million for adminstration and youth development
from FAM.
Not many companies will be willing to put in big money without insisting
on mileage worth the amount.
OF course FAM have other sponsors like Malaysia Airlines who give
discounts on tickets, Sharp who give 70 per cent of their sponorship in
equipment and $300,000 cash while Adidas supply equipment.
Others like TV3, Toto, Genting Highlands and Public Bank give about
$500,000 each while give EON $1.5 million.
But without Dunhills sponsorship, FA of Malaysia will be crippled
because the other sponsorships go towards the Semi-pro League.
There has been suggestions that sponsors besides cigarette companies
should be sought. This is easier said than done because we are talking
megabucks here.
Certainly soccer development programmes will not interest companies as
they hardly get any mileage for their money.
It must be understood that FAM, while receiving sponsorship from a
cigarette company, are in no way condoning smoking.
They have merely agreed to the sponorship because it is the best
available source of funds at the moment.

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