Tunku Ismail still our president, says FAM

KUALA LUMPUR: The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) today dismissed Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim’s statement on his resignation as president of the national football governing body, calling it a reaction against a group of internet users who blamed him whenever there was a drop in the squad’s ranking.

FAM secretary-general Hamidin Mohd Amin said Tunku Ismail did not need to step down as president of FAM just because of some disagreement with a group of people.

“People should remember FAM’s success under Tunku Ismail’s tenure of almost a year. We should not lose a reputable individual, who is eager to restore the country to its past football glory.

“I was actually shocked after reading Tunku Ismail’s statement that he should resign as FAM president following a drop in Harimau Malaya’s ranking by three positions to 178 according to the FIFA world rankings.

“The members of the FAM executive committee and I have all agreed to stand firmly behind Tunku Ismail as FAM president, and wish for him to remain in office,” he said in a statement today.

Hamidin said Tunku Ismail had managed to increase the value of the Malaysian League by obtaining lucrative sponsorships, and this has enabled each Super League team to enjoy an incentive of RM3 million, and each Premier League team RM1 million, per season.

The national junior teams also showed impressive performances, with Ong Kim Swee’s U-23 squad managing to advance to the quarter-finals of the 2018 U-23 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Championship; the U-19 squad managed by Bojan Hodak qualified for the U-19 AFC Championship; the U-16 squad in the 2018 U-16 AFC Championship; and the national men’s futsal squad in the 2018 AFC Futsal Championship.

Lose sponsors

Tunku Ismail’s credibility has also facilitated FAM to collaborate with various parties around the world and further strengthen its relationship with FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

“If Tunku Ismail resigns, we will lose sponsors, and I cannot imagine who is more eligible to replace him as FAM president.

“In my opinion, all FAM affiliates agree that Tunku Ismail is currently the only person who really deserves to hold the post of FAM president,” Hamidin said.

He added that Tunku Ismail’s statement yesterday also caught the attention of representatives from FIFA and AFC, who contacted him over the matter, and they agreed that Tunku Ismail should continue to helm FAM, and not resign.

As for the ranking issue, Hamidin said he was confident it could be improved, as Tan Cheng Hoe’s men play against Mongolia and Lebanon this month.

“In this world, it is hard for us to satisfy everyone. Although Tunku Ismail cannot satisfy this group of netizens, he has succeeded in satisfying many stakeholders of the game in the country, be it the teams, the players, the coaches, officers, fans, supporters and all involved.

“I would like to emphasise that Tunku Ismail is still FAM president, because according to FAM procedure, if any FAM executive committee member wishes to resign, he or she must send a formal letter and the FAM executive committee has the right to accept or reject the resignation,” he said.