The days of football academies flourishing uncontrolled are over.
The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) has moved to regulate such setups to ensure they operate above board and meet standards.
The “FAM SupaRimau Charter” seeks to register these entities and provide them guidance in all facets of development.
The primary aim is to have credible academies and to achieve excellence in teaching the game to juniors.
In the past, some shady operators shut down after a few months while others lacked facilities, guidance and qualified coaches.
These so-called academies sprang up at an alarming rate because parents wanted to give their children a path to professional football.
Others wished to see their young take to outdoor activities.
While FAM was happy with some academies doing proper development work and talent spotting, there were those operating without proper facilities, accredited coaches and coaching syllabus.
The FAM SupaRimau Charter, supervised by the national body’s grassroots unit head Samuel Siew, will endorse and support grassroots programmes and activities initiated by registered academies.
To date, 210 of the estimated 500 academies in the country have enlisted with FAM.
Those who fail to register and prefer to do things their on own stand to lose in the long run as benefits are aplenty.
FAM secretary-general Stuart Ramalingam said the advantages included accreditation, the SupaRimau League and player training compensation when a junior moves on to a big stage.
He said three levels of classification will be based on leadership, planning, facilities, junior competitions and education.
Stuart said a portal, to be launched soon, will update academies with latest coaching methods and keep track of players and coaches.
State football associations will know where to talent scout for players, he said.
He said “Return to Football” guidelines will see football schools up and running soon during the recovery movement control order.
It has taken FAM a while to control academies, but the good news is the recognition of academies as an integral part of grassroots development.
As Stuart puts it: “We are not out to shut down any academy as everyone has a role to play.
“Our intention is to help academies build a proper system in the interest of football and children who chase their dream to make it big in the sport.”
Kudos to FAM, but the bigger challenge will be the execution of the system and monitoring it.
Development is a long word and the work involved is lengthy, hard, and sometimes thankless.
Everyone must put in an honest day’s work if we are to see talented footballers emerging in four to six years.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.
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