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JOHOR BHARU, 4 April 2017:
The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) are in a major financial crisis said newly elected president Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim.
Tunku Ismail, popularly known as TMJ (Tunku Mahkota of Johor), said FAM’s financial 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 the shortage is? RM40 million short 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.”
Sue to lack of funds, TMJ said 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 bowl’ 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 FAM is in the process of discussing with prospective sponsors like Zenith and Fox Sport.
“I am working hard to find sponsors for the mid-season activities this year, next year and years to come.”
TMJ also chided state football associations and clubs that spent 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.”
Lack of funds and demand for high salary has thrown a spanner in the appointment of former Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) head coach Mario Gomez as the national team head.
TMJ said Gomez has yet to accept the post because the FAM would not be able to match his request for salary since his demand is high.
“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 than 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 fulfil his demand. This is not JDT. So I offered him an amount and he said he would need to think it over.
“He is asking for a higher salary but we cannot offer him the amount because we too do not have money. Therefore we might not even employ him.”
The Argentine had left JDT two days before the Charity Shield match between JDT and Kedah in January.
Tunku Ismail had on March 25, after being elected as the FAM president at FAM’s 53rd Congress, announced that Gomez would take over the post of National head coach from Datuk Ong Kim Swee.
Kim Swee was given the task to handle the National Under-23 squad.
After his appointment, Gomez picked Kedah head coach Tan Cheng Hoe as his assistant together with Raul Longhi (JDT assistant coach) and former National goalkeeper Azmin Azram Abdul Aziz as the goalkeeper coach.