Cardiff City owner Vincent Tan to sponsor NFDP?

Cardiff City owner Vincent Tan. (Reuters pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Will Berjaya Corporation Bhd executive chairman Vincent Tan Chee Yioun be the saviour of the National Football Development Programme (NFDP) by coming in as the programme sponsor?

There are indications that the English Premier League (EPL) club owner may be the most suitable candidate to be the new sponsor of NFDP and to reduce its dependence on government funds.

Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman hinted at this during an NFDP town hall session with supporters, parents and coaches involved in the programme last night.

“The biggest problem confronting NFDP is money. Through this town hall session, I want to show the sponsors that there are many football fans even though we are ranked 171st in the world and they should help us as sponsors.

“The development process needs a large amount in sponsorship. Most sponsors will only come in when we are winning and, at this development stage, they want to wait and see.

“So, this is why we need to find a sponsor who really loves the country. If he could place the ‘Visit Malaysia’ logo on his team’s jersey, I am confident he will help us here,” he said in the session at the National Sports Council in Bukit Jalil.

Vincent Tan’s Cardiff City, which returned to the EPL in 2018/2019 season, were champions of the League Championship in the 2012/2013 season.

The ‘Visit Malaysia’ logo is still displayed on the back of the jersey of the team called ‘The Bluebirds’ even though the tourism, arts and culture ministry had stopped its sponsorship of the club after the 2013/14 season.

Meanwhile, Syed Saddiq said the ministry would find the best solution to empower NFDP, apart from making a decision on the future of Mokhtar Dahari Football Academy director Lim Teong Kim soon.