Are the guardians of sepak takraw killing the sport?


The year ends with these three abbreviations.

Who are they? 

The Asian Sepak Takraw Federation (ASTAF) is the body that governs the sport in the region. 

The Sepak Takraw Association of Malaysia (PSM) is the national body of the sport.

The Sepak Takraw League (STL) is as its name suggests and is organised in Malaysia.

So what's the issue? 

In short: a broken marriage and it's killing the kids.

How so? 

"Malaysia are not an affiliate of the Asian Sepak Takraw Federation (Astaf) after STAM were expelled from the Asian body earlier this year following a fallout with their former president Datuk Seri Ahmad Ismail."

Read why new leaders are needed fast to revive PSM (or as NST calls it STAM).

Now ASTAF issued a directive warning foreign players not to play in the STL. They also barred Malaysian referees from getting involved in STL.

But why?

STL is viewed as a PSM event - although it is more of an Astro production (or that's how I view it).

As such, the athletes and sport suffer. 

It's funny how certain quarters are suddenly claiming that sepak takraw is "our sport", blah, blah, blah.

Where were the guardians of the sport all this while? 

What efforts did they take to popularise the sport, to ensure more people played the sport at every level of society (regardless colour and creed) and to raise the standards of "our sport" to a whole new level? 

Instead, all we hear is the "during my time" talk.

The fact that the STL will enter into its eighth season next month says a lot about the sport and its potential. Developing sepak takraw nations should use the STL as an example to popularise and monetise the sport.

By barring the athletes and referees from participating in the STL - just as sports finally gets going following a lull period due to Covid-19-related lockdowns worldwide - how will this benefit the sport?

If PSM is really sincere about the sport, it should just sort this out once and for all.

If ASTAF is really sincere in getting the sport going, it should make decisions that will benefit the athletes or sport. ASTAF is about protecting sepak takraw and not the other way around.

If ASTAF affiliate members are sincere about the sport, they should ensure decisions made by the council truly benefit the sport.

Astro and the sponsors would just have to keep calm and pray that common sense will (eventually) prevail.

Speaking about ASTAF and PSM, I still remember the face off between ASTAF president Datuk Abdul Halim Kader and Ahmad Ismail over the use of rubber balls at the 2007 SEA Games in Korat. 

I was there then and I'm amazed that the same names continue to hog the limelight - 14 years later.

Here's an episode regarding the matter on Astro Arena, in case you missed it: 


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