Just fresh reeling from statements made in the soccer circle that there is a dearth of local strikers because of the presence of foreign players in the M-League, it has been announced that starting next season, teams playing in the M-League will be allowed to register three import players, compared with two currently allowed.
Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) Competition Chairman Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin said the proposal was agreed by the FAM council members during the exco meeting chaired by FAM President Sultan Ahmad Shah on Wednesday.
Hamidin said teams must however, register at least one player from an Asian country and avoid signing goalkeepers.
Hamidin was quoted as saying that they have realised the need for an increase in the number of import players since some teams like Kelantan and Selangor play in bigger competitions, especially the AFC Cup.
So is the M-League about just these two teams at the expense of burdening the other teams?
Kelantan is still doing well in the AFC Cup with them registering additional foreign players under separate contracts for the tournament.
Besides the increase of one more foreign player will mean another local player will have to sit out.
However, I must agree that the decision to hire at least one Asian player, is a good decision as it means that they could come cheaper and at the same time players from countries like Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand, Bangladesh, Philippines and even Singapore, could see an increase of fans in the Stadiums as the nation as a huge number foreign workers from these countries.
I have been against the idea of foreign players in the M-League all along because I had foreseen problems of local players denied an opportunity to play and the national team suffering in the long run from dearth of quality players.
However, I had suggested if authorities still need to allow foreign players, to allow just one foreign player from Asean or Asia.
Currently, already many teams are changing their foreign players this month because they did meet up to standards expected and this only underlines that these players were engaged through poor selection process.
Then we even had players who are injured soon after signing up.
What we do not really know is the financially implications in replacing these foreign players and if it is going to dig deep into the reserves of the teams. Maybe at the end of the season, we will hear of foreign players not being paid their salaries or wrongfully dismissed.
And next year with three foreign players allowed, more teams are going to see their spending shoot up and probably get into more financial difficulties.
Do we need all these additional problems, as we try to improve our standard of the game.
Is it the teams who have the means who are dictating the terms in the admission of foreign players?
Or is it a few individuals in the FA of Malaysia who are bull-dozing their way?
Really, has serious thoughts been put into the idea of allowing foreign players to play in the M-League? Have all other avenues to improve the League been exhausted? Are we still looking for short cuts to success?
Now we are talking of privatising the M-League by 2015. Are we heading for more problems or are we really going to brain storm the matter and come up with workable ideas before going ahead and not going ahead just for the sake of privatising the League so a few can benefit.
Let us not forget that Malaysian soccer decline all started when it turned Semi-Pro in the late 80s when we are still not ready for it and then went full professional soon after that.
Let us not fall into the same trap. Let us think over it very carefully, have the right people involved in the discussion and make the right decision based on facts and figures and not ruled by their hearts.
The last thing we need is to see Malaysian soccer slide further down the ranking ladder!