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FOOTBALL: 'No will to make changes'

As published in Malay Mail today







By Haresh Deol
haresh@mmail.com.my

KUALA LUMPUR — It was a revelation that shocked the football world.
 
Malay Mail had on April 25 exposed a damning video that saw then Asian Football Confederation (AFC) financial director Bryan Kuan Wee Hoong claiming former AFC general-secretary Datuk Alex Soosay telling him "protect me" before asking "can you tamper or hide documents which relate to me?"
 
An internal probe was initiated by AFC, only for the regional body to close investigations five months later citing "inability to obtain any additional evidence". Soosay was suspended in May and quit a month later. 
 
Former AFC general-secretary Datuk Peter Velappan expressed regret over the inaction by AFC, adding "nobody has the will to make changes".
 
"After spending 50 years in football, it pains me to see the bribery scandal in Fifa. Africa is gone ... so are parts of Europe and now, that disease has come to Asia," said Velappan.
 
"There were so many irregular practices highlighted in the 2012 PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report and even the Soosay case. These matters are as bright as the sun, so glaring but nobody has the will to make changes. It's a very bad situation ... the whole football world is wrong."
 
AFC commissioned PwC to conduct an audit of its finances in 2012 which raised a number of areas of concern, including banned former AFC president Mohammad Hammam’s dealings and oversight of AFC bank accounts.
 
AFC hogged the limelight for the wrong reasons again earlier this year after Malay Mail published the contents of the "tamper or hide" video which was recorded by former Fifa investigator Michael John Pride on July 26, 2012. 
The video was recorded three days after Kuan had allegedly met Soosay at the latter’s office at AFC House in Bukit Jalil. 
 
Soosay denied the contents of the video, saying it was an attempt to smear him while Kuan refused comment. Malay Mail’s exposé was picked up by major dailies and news agencies worldwide.
 
He said the individual who will replace Sepp Blatter as Fifa president has got a "gigantic global job".
 
"It's not just Fifa. Changes have to be made all over the world. Football is a goldmine. Sadly, many are not serving football but they are making football, and its money, serve them."
 
"Football is a wonderful game and it should not be in this situation.
 

'Tamper or hide' video fiasco timeline
 
April 25: Malay Mail publishes the contents of a damning video that shows Kuan speaking to Pride alleging Soosay telling him “protect me” before asking “can you tamper or hide documents which relate to me?” The video was recorded on July 26, 2012 — three days after Kuan met Soosay at the latter’s office at AFC House.
 
May 12: A representative from AFC visited Malay Mail to obtain a copy of the video.
 
May 14:  AFC suspend Soosay. AFC deputy general-secretary Datuk Windsor Paul John takes over Soosay’s role on an interim basis while the regional body conduct an internal investigation.
 
June 17: Soosay quits AFC.
 
Sept 25:  AFC close investigations "due to the inability to obtain any additional or corroborating evidence to substantiate the claims made in the video.”
 
Nov 27:  John appointed general-secretary during executive committee meeting in New Delhi.

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