Football associations should stick to the rules

The recent lack of consonance between the Malaysia Football League (MFL) and some football associations (FAs) has compounded existing questions about the way some FAs have been managed.

It is common knowledge that football, being the most popular sport in Malaysia, has attracted “all kinds of everybody” into leadership and management positions at FAs.

FAs have been quick to punish players and coaches for an array of alleged transgressions, even including expressions of honestly held views without any oblique motives.

Further, whenever a team, whether state or national, loses a game or two, the criticism by football administrators heaped on players and coaches is often extreme.

However, when those very same administrators are taken to task for the lack of proper management of their FAs, all hell threatens to break loose.

The current differences seem to have arisen from the failure or neglect of some FAs to submit their financial papers for the 2019 season, particularly proof of settlement of the arrears of their players’ wages.

It is hard to understand how such a requirement can be deemed unreasonable, given that we are already at the end of April and, more importantly, that the issue concerns the payment of arrears in players’ wages.

In the first instance, there should not have been any arrears of wages. By itself, it is unlawful not to pay wages on a timely basis. It must be noted that any contract which offends the right to a livelihood, offends against our Federal Constitution.

It is common knowledge that time and again professional footballers in Malaysia have gone unpaid. Such occurrences tarnish the good name of FAM, which was earned from the days of the leadership our beloved Tunku Abdul Rahman.

MFL’s insistence on everyone following the same rules must be supported. Every arm of our football apparatus has rules to follow and obligations to fulfil; FAs should be no exception. What is sauce for the goose must be sauce for the gander.

MFL has been trying to develop a system of proper management and responsible conduct in respect of the M-League. It is hoped that FAs will cooperate to make M-League into a really professional operation. It is further hoped that FAM will not succumb to pressure from the errant FAs.

The leaders of the errant FAs may wish to take a leaf out of the book of Siti Zubaidah, the president of PKNS FC, on how she focused on administration and financial management and used her corporate experience to “spend within the budget” and “do what’s right” for the club. It is my plea that the male ego should not obstruct the taking of sound advice from a woman operating in a male-dominated arena.

That being said, if one has insufficient experience in sports administration and financial management, then one should not undertake the burden of leading any sports organisation.

Finally, FAs are called upon to stick to the agreed operating procedures and not use their positions in FAM to obstruct the proper management of the beautiful game in our country.

Watson Peters is an FMT reader.

The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.