Saturday, March 11, 2006

Ensuring fair play in decision-making (10/03/2006 - The Malay Mail)

Publication : MM
Date : 10/03/2006
Headline : Ensuring fair play in decision-making

THE brainstorming session to determine the format of the future M-League
in Kuching last Monday threw up a mixed pot of good suggestions and
alarming ones.
The first such meeting involving all States, the Police, Armed Forces
and a couple of clubs, was held to discuss an important issue - the
future of Malaysian soccer. It could have been done with better input.
All the State FAs sent their secretaries, except Perak FA, who did not
have a representative, as they were having their elections that weekend
and had not named their secretary yet. Still, Perak could have sent
coach-cum-team manager Steve Darby.
While it was good to have the secretaries present, it would have been
better if the technical officials - coaches - had attended to give a more
balanced opinion as any change in format would involve the players.
As it turned out, the only such person was FA of Malaysia's (FAM)
technical director, Robert Alberts, who shared his views with one of the
three groups which were asked to discuss and present their proposals.
More often than not, however, Robert was lost in the discussion when
Bahasa Malaysia was used. He managed to get the gist of it as points were
jotted in English on a whiteboard.
Clubs, slowly but surely making an impact in the League despite being
considered "infants", surprisingly went to Kuching on their own, while
FAM - with the assistance of hosts Sarawak FA - took care of the State
FAs' trip.
FAM's hands were technically tied as they could not deal directly with
clubs and had hoped the State FAs would help the clubs on the matter.
But it was not to be and only two clubs made the trip - Malacca Telekom
and MPPJ.
Several alarming suggestions were made at the brainstorming session.
One of these was to have a separate league for State FAs, the Police and
Armed Forces (FAM affiliates), and another for clubs. This means barring
clubs from the "big league" despite some of them having earned their
spots on merit.
Another alarming suggestion was that there should be no promotion or
demotion in the State and Club leagues. This clearly showed that the
States wanted to remain in the top League, without worrying about the
Which league in the world does not have a promotion-and-demotion policy?
State FAs were receptive to the suggestion of a performance-based
subsidy from FAM to keep their league competitive.
Another sore point was a suggestion to combine the Youth (Under-19) and
President's Cup (Under-21) into one league for the youth.
Already, there is not enough work being done at youth level. This
proposal suggests that State FAs want to work even less with youngsters.
This is not how the system should work, especially with the poor soccer
standard in the country, where there are hardly any concerted efforts to
have a good development programme.
The FAM Local Competitions Committee, headed by Datuk Raja Ahmad
Zainuddin Omar (left) who put off deciding on the proposals made in
Kuching on Tuesday, will have a day-long session next week.
They will scrutinise the proposals again before deciding on the ones to
be forwarded to the FAM Council for endorsement.
It is still not too late to seek coaches' opinions on the proposals,
where they can be invited for the meeting so that a more balanced view
can be obtained, before a final decision is made.
It is very important that decisions should be made for the development
of the game and not for individual gain or selfish reasons.
Any team, be it a club or State side, who can contribute to raising the
standards of the game, should be given equal opportunities to compete at
the highest level.
Fairness should be the priority in making decisions and not the
fulfilment of some hidden agendas.

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