WHAT is it with sports officials who want to cling to their posts and fight tooth and nail to stay on as long as they can?
Certainly, it cannot be that they want to help the sport because they don’t seem to have done much good during their tenure.
And how the affiliates are blind to all that is happening and keep voting in the same officials is baffling.
And what happened at the Kuala Lumpur Football Association’s (KLFA) annual general meeting last Friday takes the cake.
When names were to be submitted for election, there were a lot of jostling at the table as to who was to be nominated and who was to be elected for certain positons and in the end, those named were elected without contest. What a farce!
Making all this happen was a “king maker”, acting on behalf of a new group wanting to make its way into the KLFA.
What happened next was even more astounding — incumbent president Datuk Astaman Abdul Aziz settled for the deputy president’s post, Datuk Seri Adnan Mohd Ikhsan, the Federal Territories secretary-general, was made the new president of KLFA, and incumbent deputy president Datuk George Frederick demoted himself to executive council member.
Then, we have executive council members who have been in the committee since the 1980s still keeping their seats, although they have done practically nothing to help KLFA except to use it for their own benefit.
It is learnt that Astaman agreed to become the No: 2 man in the association so Adnan can call the shots in an effort to resurrect KLFA.
Astaman is said to have accepted the demotion because he is trying to recover some RM2 million he is said to have lent KLFA. Apparently, he has been paid a partial amount and one way to get back the rest is to remain in the system.
Question: Since when did the president lend money to the association?
Isn’t he supposed to help source for funds from sponsors or fund the association if he has the means?
So, while the players were punished when KLFA was rocked by a match-fi xing scandal recently, how come the officials who managed the association during the period have not been brought to book?
KL, who started off as minnows when they made their debut in the national league in 1979, emerged as kingpins in the late 1980s, but had to suffer the dubious honour of being relegated to the third-tier FAM League after finishing second from the bottom of the table in the Premier League. They have bounced back after a season to return to the Premier League next season.
Astaman apparently agreed to play second fi ddle in the association.
Meanwhile, KLFA do not have a stadium as the Kuala Lumpur Stadium is closed for renovations. The association has even had to move their office to a shophouse.
Hopefully, the new president, with the assistance of the FT Ministry, will be able to improve KLFA’s current position.
But with the same people who had orchestrated the election named the main committee, one wonders if things are going to change at all.
Ramlan Askolani, a former city player, has been named the secretary-general and it is learnt that he was the man behind the revamp. Hopefully, Ramlan can help put things right at KLFA.
For starters, the new management have already given the walking papers to a very powerful lady in the association, who was from the previous camp. Others who saw the axe coming down on them have switched camps.
In a nutshell, everything points to KLFA being used for personal agendas and not for the game.
When we have officials who speak without thinking or knowing the real facts, how can we expect the association to head in the right direction?
Astaman was reported, after the AGM, as saying the KLFA want two teams when the M-League is privatised.
Question: When KLFA can’t even manage one team, how can it handle two?
He went on to say: “Football is a business. By establishing two teams, we are bound to witness a healthy rivalry which will increase the quality of football. They will be governed by one parent body which is the KLFA , but they will be separate entities with separate sponsors and shareholders.
“Manchester has two clubs — United and City — while Merseyside has Liverpool and Everton.
The rivalry is intense and fans are treated to great games.” He is right about football being a business, but business for whom?
The rules are clear that each team will have to be a private entity totally and cannot be managed by one association. Just look at JDT1 and JDT2, which are managed by different bodies.
Professional football in the country has been in existence since we went semi-pro in 1989 and full professional in 1994 and if KLFA are still not a professional entity, how do they expect to become a professional outfit overnight?
And drawing comparisons with the Manchester and Merseyside clubs is truly laughable.
It is indeed sad to see KLFA languishing after all the hard work done by former presidents like Tan Sri Elyas Omar. Until and when it is run like a true professional football outfit, the city side is going to take a long time to see light at the end of the tunnel.
And this is a clear example of the state of football in this country as several other football associations are in the same boat.
TONY MARIADASS is a sports journalist with more than three decades of experience and is passionate about local sports. He can be reached at tmariadass@ gmail.com. Twitter handle:@tmariadass