Unauthorised players’ agents are peddling cheaply footballers with questionable quality or those carrying injuries, causing anxiety among coaches and the FA of Malaysia (FAM).
What is of greater concern is that state football associations and clubs oblige these agents amid allegations some officials get a cut from these deals.
Football Coaches Association of Malaysia president B Sathianathan said coaches hardly deal with these agents who instead only talk directly to the top brass.
There have been cases where players, either foreign or local, were hired before the coach was appointed, he said.
The result: Coaches having to deal with half-baked, and injured players.
Sathianathan, who coaches Selangor, scouts for foreign players after he is given a budget while the club secretary does the paperwork.
There have been reports in the past of team officials and coaches who took a cut from the signing of players.
A German Fifa-registered player’s agent, who has been dealing with Malaysian teams since the 90s, told this writer how he had, on several occasions, paid 20% of the signing fees to officials who were influential in hiring a player.
The German, who declined to be named, has since stopped bringing players to Malaysia.
Registered agent, Effendi Jagan Abdullah, who has about 12 players playing in the M-League, said he was aware of these unregistered agents.
Effendi claimed he never charged his players a fee for acting on their behalf.
Meanwhile, the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) wants state FAs and clubs to only deal with the 14 local and three foreigners registered as intermediaries (player’s agents) with the national body.
FAM general secretary Stuart Ramalingam said the M-League currently has more than 90 foreign players and there have been no problems with the licensed intermediaries.
He said intermediaries must undergo an interview and on acceptance by FAM pay an annual licence fee of RM10,000 before they are allowed to operate.
As a safeguard, the parents, siblings or spouse of a player, or a lawyer, may represent him in negotiation or renegotiation of an employment contract.
The irresponsible practices by rogue agents run contrary to reforms involving agents that were adopted by Fifa last March to “protect the integrity of football and prevent abuses”.
The rationale was to increase transparency, safeguard player welfare, improve contractual stability and upgrade professional and ethical standards.
If Malaysian football is to transform and state associations and clubs to embrace professionalism, devious agents and officials must be binned for good.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.