Football: Professionalism down the drain

As published in Mailsport today.

Comment by Nicolas Anil

OUT of a job, in despair, and struggling to make ends meet. The joyous Christmas season is a stark contrast to the plight suffered by the Perlis players, who haven’t been paid for the last six months.

The Perlis FA, along with the FA of Malaysia (FAM) have so far played dumb to the pleas of the players voiced through the Professional Footballers Association of Malaysia (PFAM). 

PFAM chief executive officer Izham Ismail said both Perlis FA and FAM have kept mum even though they have been urged to act through various means. 

“It has been more than two months since we sent our first letter asking for an explanation from Perlis FA, but have yet to hear from them. The players are suffering because of this. They’ve had to quit playing football altogether to support their families. Some have even sold their homes and cars just to make ends meet.”

“The last they were paid was for June, but even then their salaries only came in September. Almost all the players’ contracts expired last month, and I’m sure they do not want to be associated with Perlis anymore.”

“Those who have been signed up by other clubs will continue to play football, but the rest have quit the game due to lack of support or injuries.”

“We have followed the procedure from A-Z, including asking for an explanation from Perlis FA. We sent them two letters and submitted an affidavit to FAM’s status committee. We have exhausted all possible avenues, but it has fallen on deaf ears,” added Izham.

To add salt to the players’ wounds, Perlis FA president Datuk Rozabil Rahman was quoted saying the issue was settled but its honorary secretary Marzuki Sani had recently said the issue was in the midst of being settled.
Efforts to contact Rozabil proved futile.

Rozabil is also Stadium Malaysia Board chairman and has come under fire for the poor condition of the pitch at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

If these state officials are not even on the same page, as seen through their contradicting statements, how will they be trusted to settle an entire team’s salary which is pending for half a year?

FAM local competitions committee chairman Datuk Afandi Hamzah said: “I will have to check with the secretariat and revert.” 

While the officials have done nothing but sit on their pedestal, enjoying the luxuries in life, Perlis players, who have performed their taxing duties, suffer and are left to wonder where their next meal will come from. 

By the looks of it, the Northern State — two-time Malaysia Cup champions — will have problems luring players to don its colours.

If the trend of not paying players continues, talents will hang up their boots for fear of not being remunerated for their skills. 

That would slip the nation’s football, already in a despairing state, into oblivion. 

Act and act fast, officials. People’s livelihoods are at stake here.


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