Tony Fernandes willing to be FAM President

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PETALING JAYA: AirAsia Group Chief Executive Officer Tony Fernandes is willing to consider being the next Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) President if the opportunity arises, a football news portal reported today.

Fernandes was said to have expressed his willingness in an interview with Astro Arena after an AirAsia function in Bangkok yesterday, FourFourTwo (FFT) reported.

Fernandes, who owns English League Championship club Queens Park Rangers, however, needs the support of FAM affiliates at its 2017 Congress.

“If I’m asked about taking up the presidency, I will consider it,” he told Astro Arena.

FAM is supposed to hold its next election in 2018, after the completion of the current executive committee’s 2014-2018 term. However, current president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah’s desire to quit the post before his term is up, has left the FAM with no choice but to bring forward its Congress.

According to FFT, the FAM exco has accepted the Pahang Crown Prince’s resignation but asked him to remain in the hot seat until next year.

The rest of the exco will also quit with him in order to seek a fresh mandate to serve the national football governing body.

Before Fernandes’s response yesterday, no other candidate had come forward to express their willingness to take up the post since the announcement of the FAM Congress for next year.

Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, who had challenged Tengku Abdullah for the FAM presidency in the last FAM Congress in 2014, said recently that he did not wish to take up the post if it became vacant.

However, Tunku Ismail has reportedly backed Fernandes to be the next FAM President, FFT reported.

Fernandes’s present involvement with QPR may see him being the ideal candidate to chart the future of Malaysian football and initiate the changes needed to lift the standard of the game in the country.

Meanwhile, in the latest FIFA rankings for August, Malaysia remained in 167th place.

The fortune of neighbouring countries in the rankings were mixed with Singapore dropping one spot to 159 from its ranking in July, while Myanmar moved up one spot to the joint 159th spot.

Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam all moved up one spot to 120, 134 and 138, respectively.

Indonesia, who defeated Malaysia 3-0 earlier this week, were ranked 191.