Saturday, October 19, 2013

Don’t bring greed and hypocrisy into sports

Friday, October 18, 2013 - The Malay Mail 

IT is indeed sad to see the very people who are supposed to hold sports in high esteem drag it through mud.
When you have blatant disregard for the purity of sports and use it for personal gain, when money and a good dash of politics come into sports, then a massive beast is created in the industry.
When you mix sports with business and politics, you inevitably produce a dangerous environment that fosters greed. This often leads to bitter conflicts and is the reason why there are so many stories about how avarice is destroying sports.
I highlight here two issues that are prime examples of the above.
In one, it is the very authority that is supposed to safeguard sports that is trying to kill it, and in the other, the very people who are responsible for a sport are defying the rules that govern it.
Case No 1: The UKRC saga, and Case No 2: The formation of Tennis Malaysia.
I cannot understand why a town council was suddenly ordered to take over the UKRC field recently when the issue had been dragging on for years.
The field had been managed by UKRC for 57 years and is one of the best in Kuala Lumpur.
It was a mining pond that was converted into a space to house the recreational centre for the residents of Ulu Klang.

THANKLESS TASK: A council worker trimming grass at UKRC

Many attempts were made previously to convert the field for development use, but UKRC proved to be tough opponents.
In the meantime, they maintained the field, raised funds countless times to upgrade it for public use until a fallout among its members dismantled all the good work.
Then, the Ampang Jaya Town Council (MPAJ) joined the fray with a push from the Selangor government, blatantly ignoring a motion tabled in the state assembly in 2011 to give the land title to UKRC and to let them take over the field this month.
What boggles the mind is that the town council has taken over the field despite being unable to maintain it. In fact, it has asked UKRC to sell to them the goalposts in the field and wants to hire their mobile grass-cutting machine. Meanwhile, it is using garden shears and lawn movers to cut the grass.
And just 100m away, there is another public field that is in deplorable condition. Why hasn’t the town council done anything to restore or maintain it? Why did it focus on the UKRC field?
The latest news is that UKRC’s lawyers are going to file a lawsuit against MPAJ for seizing the field without a court order.
The land was allocated to UKRC on July 12, 1958, to be used as a football field and to build a club-cum-community hall on it.
And as requested by the Kuala Lumpur land office, they paid the surveyor’s fee of RM690.
The irony of it all is that since surrendering the field to the town council, UKRC have had to pay RM200 per hour to use it for their weekly community football development programme, team training and friendly matches.
And so, the UKRC saga continues. Will the field be maintained for football and for the use of Ulu Klang’s residents or will it be snatched away from them and replaced with a condominium? Only time will tell.
Let’s now look at Tennis Malaysia, newly formed by several lawn tennis state associations (LTAs) supposedly to complement the Lawn Tennis Association of Malaysia (LTAM) in unearthing fresh talent.
Kuala Lumpur LTA president Mirzan Mahathir, who had challenged and lost to Tan Sri Abdul Razak Latif for the LTAM’s top post in elections last month, is the head of Tennis Malaysia.
However, the Sports Commissioner's office has yet to receive any application from Tennis Malaysia to register the body.
Tennis Malaysia claims that it will not compete with LTAM, but complement and aid the national body in raising the standard of the game in the country.
But only LTAM is recognised by the International Tennis Federation and the Olympic Council of Malaysia. Anyone who wants to assist LTAM will have to be affiliated to it.
So, why form another body when the members of Tennis Malaysia are already affiliated to LTAM through their state LTAs and can offer their assistance through their associations? It is a real puzzle.
These two cases are enough to make one wonder if sports in this country is mired in greed and hypocrisy.

TONY MARIADASS is the sports editor of
The Malay Mail. He can be reached

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Has the Sports Commissioner got the gumption to deny application for registration?!