Lesson No. 1 for Ahmad Faizal Azumu - don't expect sports associations to kowtow to you just because you are a minister

Even before the Cabinet ministers have reported for duty, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu has already learnt a valuable lesson.

Being the new kid on the block, one may want to believe that it was an innocent remark by the former Perak Menteri Besar regarding Perak FC in the domestic football league.

Ahmad Faizal, had allegedly said on a video:

"KBS (Kementerian Belia dan Sukan) tak ada kuasa nak buat apa-apa, tapi itu terpulang kepada MFL, tapi kita kawan baik dengan MFL. Saya dengan CEO baru MFL Stuart (Ramalingam) ini pun kawan baik, dengan Datuk Hamidin (Presiden Persatuan Bolasepak Malaysia) pun saya boleh cakapkan.

"Baru-baru ini kita ada bincang Datuk Hamidin dan Stuart ada pandangan nak naikkan kepada 16 pasukan sebab ini selari dengan apa yang Persekutuan Bolasepak Antarabangsa (FIFA) tetapkan. Selama ini kita tak ikut FIFA dan mungkin dia orang terpaksa buat begitu.

"Kalau itu berlaku, selamatlah negeri Perak. Kalau tak berlaku, kita sakit kepala sikitlah sebab tak pernah berlaku lagi.

"Dan masalahnya, Perak FC II akan turun lagi (dari Liga Perdana ke Liga M3), dah tak boleh berada dalam satu liga. Jadi kita doakanlah, Insya-Allah saya akan cakapkan dengan Datuk Hamidin dan Stuart."

While not mentioning names and indicating which video, the FA of Malaysia (FAM) immediately issued a statement. It was clearly in reference to what Ahmad Faizal said:

"Merujuk kepada satu video yang tular di media sosial hari ini, FAM ingin menyatakan bahawa perkara itu tidak pernah dibincangkan langsung secara rasmi atau tidak rasmi oleh Persatuan ini, sama ada menerusi Presiden (Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin) atau Setiausaha Agungnya dengan mana-mana pihak lain.

"FAM juga ingin memaklumkan bahawa segala keputusan atau ketetapan bagi jumlah pasukan yang beraksi pada saingan Liga Super dan Liga Perdana serta penentuan jumlah pasukan yang turun dan naik bagi kedua-dua liga berkenaan adalah sepenuhnya di bawah bidang kuasa MFL dan ahli-ahli lembaga pengarahnya."

This episode has served Ahmad Faizal a valuable lesson as he will have to deal with national sports associations in days, weeks and perhaps months to come (given how fragile this government it). 

I truly hope the good minister will stay out of Perak FC's predicament. In this era of professionalism, the Super League outfit will have to sort out its own mess. 

I would like to also believe that Perak FC would want to be seen as being independent, and as such would not want any form of "assistance" from Ahmad Faizal.

Welcome to Malaysian sports, Peja!

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