KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Football League (MFL) chairman Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim revealed that his action to step down as the president of the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) was for the continuity and boosting the standard of national football.
Tunku Ismail, in a MFL statement today, clarified that the decision was made after numerous quarters, including sponsors and Malaysia League (M-League) partners, urged him to also hold the post of chairman of MFL.
According to Tunku Ismail, the decision to leave the hot seat after only 365 days was not easy to do but it had to be taken to give full commitment and focus to a single task.
‘’I had only one aim and agenda as the FAM president, namely to create and restructure the system so that the role of FAM is to look after the national team, disciplinary committee, disciplinary status committee and others to be more formal and not specifically focused on the league.
‘’If you look at successful countries, their parent bodies have their own roles but their leagues are managed by independent bodies.
“So, after making the plans to create MFL, many wanted me to be at MFL, but I cannot hold two posts at one time,’’ he said.
Tunku Ismail claimed that he left the leadership of the parent body in the best position and spent RM12 million of his own money in the first year at FAM other than helping to pay off a RM1.4 million summons against FAM.
‘’I have settled all of FAM’s debts and I did not leave FAM without doing anything.
“I left FAM because I have a bigger role and mission at MFL.
“So, what I have done for FAM was more towards structuring the system and settling its debts.
‘’I have spent RM12 million in the first year when FAM had no money.
“At the same time, I also settled a case whereby FAM would be fined RM6.5 million, which was eventually reduced to RM1.4 million, using my own money as FAM had no budget,’’ he said.
Tunku Ismail, who is also the Tengku Mahkota of Johor (TMJ), was picked as FAM president on March 25, 2017 and stepped down in March 25, 2018.
At the same time, Tunku Ismail said MFL was working hard to bring in sponsors from abroad to invest in the local football cauldron.
‘’God willing, we will have a company from abroad. I cannot divulge the name of the company because we have to get their confirmation and confidence first to sponsor our national football,’’ he added.