Friday, January 23, 2015

Educate the professionals, please

NOW that the Professional Footballers Association Malaysia (PFAM) is fi nally proactive, it should start educating its members on how to be professional.

The game in Malaysia went semi-professional in 1989 and fully professional in 1994. But after 21 years, the players are still behaving like amateurs.

The new M-League season starts with the Charity Shield on Jan 31 but the FA of Malaysia (FAM) Players’ Status Committee, headed by Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan has its hands full with cases of players having signed up for multiple teams.

Today, the Players’ Status Committee decides on former Harimau Muda A (Under-23) and national midfielder Gary Steven Robbat, who is wanted by three teams.

Gary, who was born in Kulim, Kedah, started his career with Harimau Muda and is wanted by his home state, Pahang and Johor Darul Takzim (JDT).

Gary and D. Saarvindran reportedly confirmed they will join Pahang.

While Saarvindran has kept his word, Gary has created a mess as Pahang FA has produced pictures of him signing for the Malaysia Cup champions.

But, he is training with JDT and is reported to have followed them on a playing tour to Australia.

Kedah FA is claiming according to FAM regulations, players who represented Harimau Muda must return to their state before being allowed to sign for other teams.

Another case to be heard today is that of Mohd Faizol Hussin, who has signed for JDT II despite still having a year left on his Pahang contract.

PFAM president and Armed Forces captain Hairuddin Omar recently came out strongly in support of Perlis players whose salaries were outstanding.

It is hoped he takes the same strong stand on players who sign for new teams without any regard for agreements or existing contracts.

If the Players’ Status Committee finds these players guilty of violating contractual terms, it should teach them a lesson so this does not happen again.

The committee should ban errant players for a season or two and not let them off the hook with just a fine. Fines are not a deterrent as the players can afford to pay them. Sometimes, their new clubs settle the fines on their behalf.

Teams who knowingly sign such players should also be hauled up as they have the means to check the players’ status with FAM, the state FAs or clubs concerned.

Players take to task the state FAs or clubs when their contracts are violated, but it should work both ways. They should not play the clubs against each other in their bid for higher wages.

Players are also known to present “package deals” to their prospective employers — a few of them band together to be signed on. This is a dangerous trend as it gives players the opportunity to hold their employers to ransom during the season and even perform poorly in matches.

The state FAs, clubs or coaches are to be blamed sometimes as they fall for such scams.

It is for this reason senior and experienced officials should be involved in hiring players. Otherwise, the players are more than capable of taking the “green” officials for a ride.

What baffles me is why contractual disputes arise at all. Every year, FAM briefs the teams and officials on the rules and regulations and after 21 years of being professional, surely, we can do without such problems?

The best answer is to impose stiff sentences on the offenders and once and for all eradicate such problems. Then, we can concentrate on the more important things — like how to improve the standard of M-League.

The guilty ones deserve no sympathy, otherwise we will only be compromising the reputation of the league.

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