Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Jumping from the frying pan into the fire

Privatise teams by next year or missing out on M-League.

The FA of Malaysia M-League privatisation committee chairman Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin, who is currently the FA of Malaysia competitions committee chairman and vice-president of FA of Malaysia who had been tasked to restructure the league had this warning to give to all State FAs.

Read what appeared in today's New Straits Times: Ultimatum to state FAs http://www.nst.com.my/sports/soccer/ultimatum-to-state-fas-1.293160?cache=03%3Fpage%3D0%3Fpage%3D0%3Fpage%3D0%2F7.192560%2F7.201832%3Fpage%3D0

His warning came prior to his first official meeting next week to discuss about the privatisation of the League.
But really, State FAs have to privatise their teams?
Where are the State FAs going to find potential sponsors or people who have the means to manage a soccer team overnight.
In any case, has it not been all this while that Malaysian soccer had ruled out club soccer because ours is based on States and this has been the tradition.
Just look at the number private clubs who have competed in the M-league and folded because they could not afford in the end, or their CEOs or chairmen's of the corporate team changed and the one officer is no longer interested in spending money on football.
The M-League going independent in 2015?
Has the M-League not been managed Malaysian Super League (MSL) not too long ago. What happened to it?
Now who has the means and expertise to manage the M-League for 2015. What guarantee is that the new body is not going to drag Malaysian soccer further into the doldrums. Can they do better that FA of Malaysia despite some of their shortcomings at times.
But the bigger question is the State FAs.
Privatising teams is nothing new to Malaysian soccer.
Remember Penang managed by Mutiara Antara Sdn Berhad in 1994 when the M-League went fully professional, They folded within two years and leaving huge debts.
What about Ringgit Kreative with Kelantan.
And fresh on the minds is Rising Sun Travel and Tours Sdn Bhd who came in to manage Kuala Lumpur with a promise of RM 2 million, but last week decided to pull the plug after only pumping in RM500,000 citing that the team is doing badly!
Is it going to be any different with more teams expected to privatise their teams. How teams can privatise their teams? Will the teams not getting themselves into more trouble?
What will happen to the respective FAs when their teams are privatised? What will be their role or contribution? Youth development? 
Anyway, how are these privatised teams going to communicate with FA of Malaysia? Through the State FAs? Is that going to work.
Or is FA of Malaysian going to change their rules to allow privatised clubs to deal directly with them. Yes, Hamidin may say that they will deal with the new body which is running the M-League. But is this all not going to be messy!
State FAs are suppose to set up private subsidiaries. Is there not enough problems just with the FAs managing the teams as it is.
Penang and Malacca, once kingpins of Malaysian soccer this year are playing in the FAM Cup competition - a competition for clubs - after relegation from the Premier League! They get to privatise and play in the M-League?
In any case what is Penang and Malacca doing in FAM Cup league. If State FAs like them cannot survive the M-League, what chance will privatised teams have. History have proven that it does not work.
Why can't the existing State FA system be improved to become more professional and work with this proven model - based on State classification.
After all if teams like Kelantan, Selangor, Johor, Pahang and even Armed Forces have proven that they can manage the team well under the present system with their professional approach, why change?
Would it not be better to come up with ideas like asking State FAs to have more corporate leaders and sponsors sit in their Council instead officials who just make up the number, warm the seats and reaps benefits like travelling with the team and collecting bonuses sitting in the Council for ages!
How about asking individuals from the respective States or club owners from the State FA who are their affiliates and interested to sit in the Council to bring with them sponsors  worth say RM50,000 per year for Council member seats, RM100,000 for vice-president seats, RM500,000 for deputy president post and maybe RM1 million for president's post for starters.
This way every member in the Council is accountable for the money they bring in and the team's spending and performance.
Of course, above this the Council as a team will still have to work bring in the bigger sponsors.
Would it not be a better way to ensure that there is professionalism and accountability in the management of the teams?
Certainly better that privatising the teams! Just look at Kuala Lumpur FA of an example how things can go wrong.
For all we know, with the privatising of teams, we could just be inviting more "bad hats" to manage our teams and manipulate them to their wills and fancy.
Malaysian soccer with such past rich history, certainly does not deserve to be dragged down the dirt road any further.
Any major decisions taken, has to be taken by officials who have their heart and soul  in the game for all the right and NOT wrong reasons.
We need professional decisions and to be based on the history of the game in the country and not just make cosmetic changes just to look pretty from the outside, but stink to high heaven inside!
I hope the State FAs themselves stand up for their rights over the game and not just be sold out!
For the sake of the game, let us play fair and professional!

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