UPDATE 12.44pm: Here is the podcast of the show 'Pressing Matters' that I was on this morning.
I will be on BFM this morning (9.30am) to speak about the stand off between Selangor FA and the state government.
For those in the dark over the nauseating episode (or those who lost track on how the whole fiasco started), here's my 'Selangor FA v State Government Saga for Dummies':
i. Datuk Seri Azmin Ali (Selangor Menteri Besar & PKR deputy president)
ii. Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal (Selangor FA president, was vice president when Azmin was Selangor FA president, Umno man, former state assemblyman for Taman Templer and now a businessman)
i. Amirudin Shari (Selangor Youth, Culture and Entrepreneur Development Committee chairman)
ii. Rosman Ibrahim (Selangor FA general secretary)
iii. Datuk S. Sivasundram (Selangor FA treasurer)
Azmin quits as Selangor FA president in December 2016, claiming among others:
i. FAS executive council is bogged by 'excessive politics.
ii. FAS adopts the old-fashioned way of doing things.
iii. And the team is overly dependent on subsidies.
Can't argue with him there.
And since he quit, Selangor FA has not received funding from the state government and has not allowed to play at the Shah Alam Stadium which is owned by the Shah Alam City Council (MBSA). For the record, Selangor FA have made the KL Stadium in Cheras their home ground this season.
But here's the thing ....
Those within FAS claim Azmin and his boys were not transparent in their efforts to privatise Selangor football.
They also demanded to know why Azmin wanted to get rid of Rosman and Sivasundram and sacked former coach Zainal Abidin Hassan without proper notice.
FAS, in a statement on its website, wrote:
" ... kemelut dalaman FAS bermula apabila segelintir daripada kepimpinan di dalam FAS menentang perubahan yang cuba dibawa oleh Presiden FAS ketika itu, iaitu Y.A.B Dato’ Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali, juga merupakan Menteri Besar Selangor.
Dalam satu mesyuarat, sebahagian daripada ahli kepimpinan FAS yang diketuai oleh Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal dikatakan mendesak Dato’ Seri Mohamed Azmin untuk menarik balik arahan pemberhentian Setiausaha Agung FAS, Rosman Ibrahim dan juga Bendahari FAS, Datuk S Sivasundram yang masing-masing menyandang jawatan tersebut pada ketika itu.
Walaupun dijelaskan perkara tersebut akan diperbincangkan pada agenda seterusnya menurut urutan minit mesyuarat, kumpulan yang membantah ini bertindak keluar daripada mesyuarat yang dipengerusikan sendiri oleh Presiden FAS.
Tindakan tersebut dianggap sebagai biadap dan tidak sepatutnya berlaku, mengambil kira kapasiti Y.A.B Dato’ Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali sebagai Menteri Besar kepada Kerajaan Negeri Selangor yang telah memberikan sepenuh sokongan terhadap FAS sehingga mampu merangkul kejuaraan Piala Malaysia pada 2015.Disebabkan tindakan yang dianggap mencabar kedudukan Kerajaan Negeri dan angkuh kerana mengendahkan peraturan mesyuarat rasmi, Dato’ Pegawai Kewangan Negeri yang turut menghadiri mesyuarat tersebut mencadangkan agar segala kemudahan yang dinikmati oleh FAS ditarik balik serta merta."
Like a Bollywood movie right? Let's take a short commercial break.
The state government's official portal had once reported:
Now, back to the saga.
Following this ugly episode, Football Malaysia LLP is looking at ensuring teams confirm their venues SIX months before the M-League begins, as I tweeted on Saturday night.
My observation about this drama?
i. Privatisation is the way forward. But Azmin must explain how Red Giants Sdn Bhd came about and the people behind the company.
ii. I still can't believe Azmin's government gave Selangor FA RM23 million for the 2016 season. Saari Sungib asked FAS how the money was spent (which is valid) but my question is why did Azmin even give that much of money to the state football team? Were other sports ie Selangor Badminton Association, Selangor Swimming Association allocated with such generous funds (which is highly unlikely despite Malaysian shuttlers and swimmers have a brighter chance of participating in the Olympics compared to our footballers)? The money could have been better spent on fixing potholes (remember how a motorcyclist died after entering a pothole in Klang?) Wasn't Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim forced out as Selangor Menteri Besar due to potholes and garbage collection issues, among others. Hmm....
iii. Let's say Selangor spends RM9 million on wages alone this season. This is not factoring other expenses including transport, accommodation and food for the players and officials. A team will play a bare minimum of 15 home matches this season - 11 league matches, three Malaysia Cup matches and 1 FA Cup match.
So RM9 million / 15 home matches = RM600,000 (spent per home match)
The ticket prices for the upcoming Selangor v Pahang match are as below:
So let's say the ticket price (Open) is RM15, GST is 90sen and the remaining RM2.70 is set aside for the respective fees (total RM18.60).
And from the RM15, at least RM5 will be set aside for levy, security etc. That means Selangor FA pockets RM10 per home ticket. Lebih kurang lah.
So RM600,000 / RM10 = 60,000 tickets - that's the number of tickets per home match, on average, Selangor FA has to sell just to pay wages.
Getting 10,000 supporters to fill the stands at every home match is already a bonus, given the late kick off (at 9pm). Can Selangor FA pull it off? I'm sure they thought about this before signing up their new players.
Selangor FA should have just opted for KL Stadium in Cheras from the start instead of trying to play "tarik tali" with the state government. And if Azmin remains in power after GE14, then Subahan and Company will need to completely forget about securing funds from the state.
Another commercial break
Azmin has blocked me on Twitter - for reasons best known to him.
Okay, now back to the story ...
If Azmin truly believes that "Dalam bola sepak, kita kena buang sentimen politik" then he should at least meet Subahan whom he described as "... anak jati Selangor, faham selok-belok bola sepak negeri dan mampu membimbing Selangor ke arah kejayaan.”
As for the money, well Selangor FA can't go around calling themselves the Red Giants if they cannot even sort their finances out and do not have their OWN home ground (Remember, Shah Alam Stadium DOES NOT belong to Selangor FA).
As for Subahan, he should know how shallow politics is in this country. I know of politicians who cringe or don't attend wedding or social receptions if an opposition member is invited for the same do. I'm sure he knows of this too.
Well politics have no place in sports but it's evident in Selangor that members from two clashing parties can't sit at the same table. If the way forward for Selangor FA is by Subahan quitting, then so be it.
If these individuals claim it is not about politics, then please explain to the fans what this is all about.
Moral of the story?
A shameful affair that shows politics and egos are bigger than football. The same can happen to other state teams as well. It's important teams start standing on their own feet and not rely on state funds anymore.