JOHOR BHARU — April 4, 2017: The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) is in a major financial crisis, down by RM40 million.
In view of this situation, newly elected president Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, popularly known as TMJ, said the situation could hamper his efforts to carry out development programmes or changes aspired by the fans and the people.
“On the first day I had entered the FAM in my officially capacity as president, oozing with confidence and ideas, ready to rock and roll. So, I started checking everything, I got all the files, I got everybody coming up to me… FAM has no money.
“You know how much shortage? RM40 million shortage of money. There’s no money in FAM. How am I going to run the league? How am I going to look after the national team, how to change a new coach, buy equipment?
“Of course no one has the answer. It’s okay, I don’t want to worry about it. I want to move forward,” he told about 40 journalists at Bangunan Sultan Ibrahim here today.
TMJ said that due to lack of funds, he had to take proactive measures, including terminating the services of 20 staff, although he had no intention to throw sand into people’s rice bowls as claimed by some on social media.
“Everyone, including the fans, need to know what we can do and what we cannot do. We have to be realistic. So, to restructure the organisation, we need not pay staff who are not productive because we don’t want to waste FAM’s money.
“My main focus is to protect the money and assets that belong to FAM, therefore 20 staff have been terminated. Media has to understand and highlight the positive things.
“I am not throwing sand into people’s rice bowl. That’s got nothing to do with my intention. I think the first priority should be given to the association,” he said.
He said FAM was in the process of discussing with prospective sponsors like Zenith and Fox Sport.
TMJ also chided state football associations and clubs that spend exorbitant amounts on import players.
“I have given ideas to restructure their financial status. We will see during the second window for registration of players. I want to rescue them from unrecognised player agents,” he said.
The lack of money and demand for a higher salary has thrown a spanner in the appointment of former Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) head coach Mario Gomez as the national coach.
Gomez has yet to accept the post because the FAM would not be able to match his request for a higher salary.
“Mario has not made a decision about accepting the post or not. After his appointment 10 days ago, he met me and spoke about his salary. He is asking for a higher salary that what we paid him when he was coaching JDT.
“To me this is the national team and we may not be in a position to fulfill his demand. This is not JDT. So I offered him an amount and he said he would need to think it over.”
The Argentine left JDT two days before the Charity Shield match with Kedah in January.
TMJ had offered him the national job to replace Datuk Ong Kim Swee. — Bernama