Friday, December 23, 2005

Bumpy ride ahead for State FAs (23/12/2005 - The Malay Mail)

Publication : MM
Date : 23/12/2005
Headline : Bumpy ride ahead for State FAs

THIS is the season to be jolly - but not for sports associations who
haven't spent their money prudently.
One such body is the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM).
Things do not look rosy next year due to the cut in sponsorship - which
has resulted in a drastic reduction in subsidy for State FAs.
In the last 20 years, the State FAs have been handsomely aided through
the centralised sponsorship secured by the national body.
The FAs were getting as much as RM1 million in annual grants, but the
standard of the game did not reflect it.
It was obvious the money was not well spent.
For this Christmas, if there is a wish I want from Santa, it would be
to rewind the clock 20 years and let Malaysian soccer start all over
The FAM have claimed they are transparent but it is obvious there are
many grey areas, especially when it comes to finance.
The National Sports Council or even the Sports Ministry need to step in
to ensure all is well in FAM, because the State FAs have more often than
not, worked to keep everything a secret.
In fact, it has come to a stage where FAM are sometimes afraid of their
own shadow.
There were speculations FAM have a paper loss of RM1 million through an
investment made by a fund manager.
FAM are keeping it close to their chest and the treasurer's report at
the last Council meeting was collected after the meeting as they didn't
want it to fall into the media's hands.
The State FAs can lift the standard of the game through development but
are more interested in the Super League, Malaysia Cup, League Cup and
FA Cup.
FAM have better put on the brakes and spend prudently, or they could
end up as paupers.
An example is the recent SEA Games in the Philippines where FAM paid
US$600 (RM2,220) for the players and officials' excess baggage.
It may be small change to FAM and perhaps they wanted to show their
appreciation to the bronze medal winning squad, but why should they pay
when the goods are personal belongings?
Recently, there was a hiccup over a television recording in Myanmar
where the Malaysian team played the return leg of the Asian Youth
Championship qualifier.
Due to some hitches and miscommunication, FAM were sent a hefty bill
for the recording.
While FAM rightly refused to pay the bill, the point is everyone seems
to take them for a ride because of their generosity.
FAM have to get their act together, put the State FAs in their places
and start acting professionally.
It is certainly not sweet pudding during this Holiday Season, but as I
wish all Christian readers a Merry Christmas, it is my hope for a better
and prosperous 2006 for soccer.

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