Friday, February 17, 2012


Los Angeles, 16th February, 2012: Zaiton Othman was awarded the International Olympics Council (IOC) Women and Sports award for Asia at the start of the two-day 5th World Conference on Women and Sport in Los Angeles, California today.
The conference held once in four years, is organised jointly by the IOC, the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and the Southern California Committee for the Olympic Games which will see a range of subjects, in both plenary and dialogue sessions, associated with the efforts to strengthen women’s representation both in the field of sports and in leadership positions discussed. Over 700 delegates are attended the conference.
Themed “Together Stronger: the Future of Sport”, the two-day conference will saw high-level speakers from a variety of backgrounds in attendance. Amongst them were IOC President Jacques Rogge; the IOC’s Women and Sport Commission chairperson, Anita DeFrantz; Chairman of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, Sebastian Coe; H.E. Marjon V. Kamara, Chair of the UN’s Commission on Status of Women, as well as Geena Davis, Academy award winning actress and founder of the Geena Davis Institute in Gender in the media.
Dato’ Low Beng Choo, the vice-president of the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) and chairperson of the OCM Women and Sport Committee, is attending the conference together with Zaiton, who is also a committee member of the OCM Women and Sport Committee. Beng Choo, who is a member of the IOC Women & Sport Commission, is also selected to make a presentation at the Conference, as one of the speaker-panelists, on “Setting the Pace for a Sustainable Responsibility: The Regional Agenda.”
“It is indeed an honour to see Zaiton being awarded the IOC Women and Sports award for Asia. To be awarded at the World Conference on Women and Sport which is held once in four years is even more meaningful and significant in view of the worldwide delegation attending the Conference, apart from the top officials from IOC, as compared to the other annual awards presentation ceremonies,” said Beng Choo.
“The award is another feather in the cap for Malaysian women’s effort in Malaysia to develop, encourage and strengthen the participation of women and girls at all levels in the field of sports, and in particular as sports leaders.”
Zaiton was nominated for the Asian award by the Olympic Council of Malaysia.
“It is indeed an honour to be recognised at the Asian level and to receive the award at the prestigious World Conference on Women and Sport is indeed a recognition to be remembered forever,” said Zaiton the Director of the Organizational Development and Athletes’ Affairs Department at the National Sports Council of Malaysia.
Zaiton had previously won the IOC Women and Sports Achievement Diploma in 2010 and was also the 2009 winner of the OCM Women and Sport Award.
“I thank the OCM for nominating me and the IOC for having given me the Asian award. This award is for all the women leaders in Malaysia. I am passionate about women sports as a former athlete myself and was not looking for awards. But these recognitions will only make me work even harder as I have been recognised and have to live up to the faith put in me to further promote women sports, not only in Malaysia, but also in Asia,” said Zaiton who is nicknamed “Iron Lady of Athletics” for her domination in the grueling heptathlon for over a decade from 1979 and winning medals at the Sea Games, Asian Games and Asian Track and Field championships.
Her best performance was at the 11th SEA Games in Manila in 1981 where she won 3 gold medals in the heptathlon, 4 x 100m and 4 x 400m relay, creating new national records in all the three events and setting the all-time Asian best in the 4 x 400m relay. The heptathlon record set in 1981 is currently the longest standing record and is still yet to be broken in Malaysian Track & Field annals.
Besides athletics, Zaiton had also excelled in hockey, netball, softball, basketball and volleyball.
Zaiton who also won the 1982 National Sportswoman of the Year, is a trained sports psychologist and physical educationist who devotes full time to guiding, counseling and motivating youths, especially women and girls, to pursue excellence as athletes, coaches and officials.
She obtained a Bachelors Degree from University Putra Malaysia and a Masters in Physical Education (Applied Sports Psychology) from the San Diego State University, California, USA in 1992.
After her retirement from competition, she continued to be active as a coach and administrator at national level in athletics. She was appointed the Chef de Mission of the Malaysian contingent to the 4th World Women Islamic Games Tehran in 2005 and the Deputy Chef de Mission to the South East Asian Games – Bangkok, Thailand in 2007. She has also presented seminar papers and forum presentations, both in Malaysia and Asia, on women in sports, sports psychology, motivation, athlete, coach and association relation, to name few.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

More questions raised with FA of Malaysia's announcement on ban of players and coaches

While the general consensus is to applaud the the FA of Malaysia for their announcement that they have banned 18 youth players raging from two to four years and a coach meted out a lifetime ban, but there are many questions felt answered.
And to make matters worse, the manner in which this news of the ban surfaced is even more puzzling.
It is learnt that the announcement was never in the agenda of the Press Conference after the executive meeting yesterday.
It was only after the reporter from New Straits Times asked what has been done since the coach and bookie were brought to court last year for their involvement in the President's Cup, that the news of the ban of 18 players and coach surfaced.
While all major newspapers went front page with the story, it has left me with many questions unanswered in the report.
I will use the report in the New Sunday Times today to ask the questions.

New Sunday Times front-paged story today

18 footballers banned

TO show it is serious about tackling match-fixing, the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) yesterday banned 18 youth team players for two to five years while a former Negri Sembilan coach was given a lifetime suspension.
Six players each from the 2011 Negri Sembilan, T-Team and Muar Municipal Council Under-21 President’s Cup squads were found to have been involved in illegal football activities, in connection with three people charged with bribing players last year.
One of the three charged was Yusarman Yusof, the then Negri Under-21 coach, who was given the lifetime ban. The others were bookies Rajendran Kurusamy, 51, a Singaporean national; and Sufian Ngah, 41, who were charged last year with bribing six
T-Team players to fix matches against Selangor, Negri and Pahang in the President’s Cup.
The bans mean the 18 players are barred from all official football-related activities.
Their names, which will be made public on Wednesday after the necessary paperwork, will be circulated to all state affiliates and clubs.
Why is the names only announced on Wednesday? Is this because it was never on the agenda yesterday to make the announcement. And when it was disclosed, they did not have details like the names and the number years they have been banned?
Does this mean that the respective State FAs have also not been informed about the banned players?
If that is the case, does it mean that the 18 players could well be registered with either President's Cup or M-League teams for this season.
And if that is the case, what happens after the announcement of the names on Wednesday. If any of these players have been registered by participating teams, then their names will have to be deleted. Will replacements be allowed? Why create such a mess into the season. Could all this have been sorted out before the new season began?
Success on the pitch apparently did not preclude players from taking bribes as in the case of Muar MC, which reached the President’s Cup final last year before losing 2-1 in extra-time to Kelantan.
Negri and T-Team were eliminated in the preliminary round.
FAM began investigations into the President's Cup players in December and the evidence and recommendation of action were finalised last month before being presented to the executive committee yesterday.
Began investigations in December? Six months after the coach and bookie were charged in court and seven months after Negri FA lodges a police report on suspected match-fixing involving its President's Cup squad?
Did FA of Malaysia not see the urgency to get to the root of the matter and had to wait for six months to launch their investigations into President's Cup squads of Negri Sembilan, T-Team and Muar Municipal Council?
FAM deputy president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah said bribery in football was a serious matter and the association would not let up in hunting crooked players, coaches or officials, with the assistance of enforcement authorities.
"This proves that we are serious about combating match-fixing. Let this be a lesson to all players, coaches and officials involved in FAM-sanctioned tournaments," said Tengku Abdullah after chairing the executive committee meeting which endorsed the suspensions here yesterday.
Tengku Abdullah said the vetting, transparency and monitoring committee, headed by former Home Ministry secretary-general Tan Sri Aseh Che Mat, and comprising members independent of FAM and its affiliates, the police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), would be given broad powers to act against those suspected of fixing matches.
"In future, this committee will be given the names of players, coaches and officials found to be involved in unwanted activities by the police or MACC. They can blacklist the players and refuse a licence to play, and similarly for the officials.
"I hope everyone takes football seriously and only those sincere in competing and developing the sport in Malaysia are given the chance to be involved in football," said Tengku Abdullah.
What about the "big fishes" - those who actually offer the bribes - the runners and the bookies? Is the Police on them? Will they be hauled up too?
In a significant development, international betting websites no longer carry live scores of the President's Cup matches after this year's edition kicked off on Thursday.
Is this really true. How this come about? Does FA of Malaysia have any control on international betting websites to prevent them from carrying live scores? Or is it just that it is early stages, since the President's Cup just kicked off last Thursday? Or has the heat on the bribery scandal seen them get off the radar? But M-League Super and Premier Divisions are still listed.
Betting on President's Cup matches, made possible by these websites, was identified as a prime reason why bookies targeted susceptible youth team players to fix matches.
However, in a possible setback to FAM's efforts, no hard evidence has been found against the nine Perlis Premier League players alleged to have met a bookie in Alor Star last month.
FAM general secretary Datuk Azzuddin Ahmad said a briefing by MACC officers indicated that chances of securing convictions against any of the nine in court were remote.
"We had a briefing by MACC officials recently and they said they cannot establish a case for lack of evidence. The evidence is weak."
So there was smoke without fire? Is this a victory for those who were alleged to be involved? Will others be encouraged to take the same path?
Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek described the development as scandalous and shameful to Malaysian sports. "There is a need to identify the root of the scandal."

There was also a report that FA of Malaysia will no longer tolerate late payments of players' salaries and has threatened errant state FAs and clubs a "three strikes and you're out" approach in a bid to combat the bribery menace affecting the sport.
Late wages is one of the reasons cites for players ending up in the clutches of bookies.
Good move. But by suspending the State FAs and clubs on the third warning, does it solve the problem of the players getting their salaries. Suspending the State FAs and clubs, could complicate further for the players being paid their dues. Unless, FA of Malaysia uses the deposits or the grants to pay off the arrears on behalf of the State FAs and clubs.

Let us just hope for the sake of the game in the country, that it will be all action and no more just talk from the authorities. Vigilance will have to be kept 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year, to combat the menace. And indeed the State FAs and clubs have to play a bigger role in combating the menace and work closely with FA of Malaysia, the Police and MACC. FA of Malaysia alone cannot eradicate the menace.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Million Ringgit Decision In Haste?

Congratulations to Safee Sali for his RM2 million two-year contract with Pelita Jaya in Indonesia.
The million ringgit question is whether Safee has jumped the gun and put his soccer career in jeopardy?
In view of the possibility that Indonesian domestic league could be imposed sanctions by FIFA, it is hoped that Safee has been well advised before putting his signature on the dotted lines on the contract.
FIFA has given the All-Indonesian FA (PSSI) till March 20 to get its house in order and rein in any rebel leagues or face sanctions.
The association received the order last December from FIFA to bring all competitions - the Premier League (LPI) and ISL, under its control.
Safee himself is confident that the issue at hand will be resolved and he will not land in trouble.
Unless he has an escape clause in his contract which can see him bail himself out if FIFA takes action against PSSI, Safee is treading on thin ice.
While accolades have been coming from all quarters over Safee becoming the first millionaire Malaysian footballer, one wonders if the FA of Malaysia had advised him over his decision to sign the contract. Afterall, he is a national player and national interest should have overweighed everything else.
Besides, the FA of Malaysia has to issue the International Transfer Certificate (ITC) before Safee can sign his contract in Indonesia, and one wonders if the national body had really looked at the matter in detail before issuing the ITC.
If Safee does get in trouble, FA of Malaysia will be equally guilty of having allowed it to happen.
And if Safee wants to bail out or has contract issues, who will he turn to and who is going to take his case to FIFA - FA of Malaysia? How are they going to represent Safee if FIFA takes action against PSSI and he is part and parcel of the ISL.
Let us hope for the sake of Safee and FA of Malaysia, all turns out well.
But if it does not, it will be too late to cry over split milk!
Another case of putting the cart before the horse!

Latest: Read what The Malay Mail reported on Safee's predicament.

FAM: It’s his choice

Safee can still play at Pelita Jaya-affiliated clubs if ISL is suspended by Fifa

Thursday, February 2, 2012 - 20:05

by Haresh Deol

KELANA JAYA: Safee Sali is well aware of the consequences but the FA of Malaysia (FAM) have no choice but to respect the national poacher’s decision to stay in the Indonesian Super League (ISL).
FAM vice-president Datuk Hamidin Amin, who is fully aware of the differences between the Indonesian FA (PSSI) and ISL, said Safee was a professional player and had exercised his right to play for the club of his choice.
Tension between PSSI officials and clubs playing in the breakaway ISL heightened late last year, forcing Fifa to issue a letter to PSSI demanding the national body get their house in order or those involved in their league would be banned.
The ban would apply to all players and officials from the ISL would see them not being able to participate in international tournaments.
Fifa only recognises one governing body and one league in all countries.
“We have spoken to Safee. In fact, Datuk Azzudin Ahmad (FAM secretary general) and I have personally met him on numerous occasions to explain the whole situation to him and the possibility of ISL being slapped with a ban,” explained Hamidin.
“Safee is well aware of the situation and the consequences and he has made his choice. As a professional player, he is entitled to chart his own future and we have no say.
“Let’s put it this way ... we can only advise him.”
Hamidin, who is also the FA of Selangor secretary and was involved in Safee’s transfer to Pelita Jaya from Selangor last year, admitted it would be a big loss if the national team were unable to use the striker.
“I hope the issues will be resolved soon. I’ll continue to communicate with Safee and we’ll see how it goes.”
Earlier on Wednesday, Safee announced he was signing a two-year contract with the Karawang-based club valued at more than RM2 million. This includes a house, car and personal driver. Other incentives include taxes and flight tickets back to Malaysia to be borne by the club.
Safee could also enjoy stints with Australia’s Brisbane Roar, Belgium’s CS Vise and SAD Uruguay. All three are owned by subsidiary club Pelita Jaya Cronus.
Pelita Jaya are placed seventh in the ISL, with Safee notching six goals so far.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

A fulltime committe to address match-fixing in the M-League

The FA of Malaysia (FAM) deputy president, Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah has announced that a fulltime committee will be in place to address match-fixing in the M-League.
There have been similar committees named in the past and in place.
Let us hope this time this committee is for real and will really address the issues at hand.
It is a surprise indeed that after last year's conviction of a coach of a President's Cup team and also a "bookie" charged for involvement in match fixing in the President's Cup tournament, the alarm bells were not ringing at the corridors of FA of Malaysia.
We are talking about match fixing at the junior soccer level, and it did not ruffle enough feathers to look at the matter seriously.
If Perlis FA had not brought up the matter of suspicion of match fixing in the M-League last month and made it public, probably, the topic of match-fixing would not have surfaced at all despite it being the talk of the town.
It is hoped that with the Police and MACC being part and parcel of meeting held two days ago, around the clock vigilance is kept on players, coaches, officials, former players and those who have been implicated in the match fixing in the past.
Any suspicion of match-fixing must also be highlighted so that the general public and especially soccer enthusiasts know for sure that something is being done to  curb the menace.
This will also part of the 3E method — education, engagement and enforcement - the FA of Malaysia hope to practice to tackle the problem at hand.
At the Special Meeting were Bukit Aman anti-vice, gaming and secret societies (D7) deputy director SA C Datuk Abdul Jalil Hassan and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) director Shamshun Bahrain Jamil and it is hoped they will continue to keep monitoring all developments.
Below is The Malay Mail's Haresh Deol's take on the meeting:

Song remains the same

FAM continue to crack down on match fixing

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

by Haresh Deol

TACKLING THE ISSUE: Tengku Abdullah (centre) has called for stern action to be taken immediately to curb corruption in Malaysian football

AMPANG: It was called a Special Meeting. Sadly, there was nothing special about it.
FA of Malaysia (FAM) deputy president, Tengku Abdullah Shah, was flanked by Bukit Aman anti-vice, gaming and secret societies (D7) deputy director SA C Datuk Abdul Jalil Hassan, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) director Shamshun Bahrain Jamil and FAM vice president Datuk Hamidin Amin at the Shahzan House in Jalan Wickham to announce the formation of a fulltime committee to address match-fixing in the M-League.
Nothing wrong with this picture, except that it was all too similar to what was witnessed at Wisma FAM hardly a year ago — when Fifa’s head of security, Chris Eaton, and several of his investigators were in KL.
Tengku Abdullah was quick to agree this was merely a follow up to the committee set up during Eaton’s visit to KL.
“I am not happy (with the progress made) and that’s why we are here. I wanted to put my point across,” admitted Tengku Abdullah.
“After this (meeting), action has to be taken. Otherwise we have to take full responsibility.”
The meeting also saw the attendance of Fifa’s South East Asia security officer Michael Hetson. According to Tengku Abdullah, Fifa have now stationed four of their men in various regions — Africa (South Africa), Europe (UK), Southeast Asia (Malaysia) and the Middle East to monitor matchfixing.
Tengku Abdullah added the meeting will see several officers — largely comprising of those from the Police, MACC and FAM’s vetting, integrity and coordination committee headed by Tan Sri Aseh Che Mat — working on the match fixing issues on a fulltime basis. Ironically, FAM’s vetting committee did not hold any meetings since the July 2010 congress until a Mailsport expose last May.
One of the reasons for matchfixing lies with the inability of State FAs and clubs to pay the wages of their players on time.
“We will issue them a yellow card (first warning) if they lapse the first month followed by another warning if they fail to pay the players’ wages within two months. If they continue to lapse in payment, we will issue them a red card which could mean the team being banned from the league for the season.”
When pointed out that the national body was still babysitting their affiliates despite it being a “professional league”, Tengku Abdullah said: “We will monitor, but the States need to be professional (in making payments). We too need to be professional.”
The members also decided to adopt the 3E method — education, engagement and enforcement — to tackle the problem.
“We will monitor the players and officials and scrutinise their lifestyles.
“We are doing this for the benefit of football. It is the nation’s sport, the sport we all love. People are now beginning to flock to the stands and we don’t want our football to be marred by greed.”
When asked if the sudden interest by the authorities in match-fixing could result in the 1994 fiasco, where more than 100 players and officials were banned, Tengku Abdullah said: “I hope not.”