Kevin Ramalingam, Chief Executive Officer of the newly-formed Football Malaysia Limited Liability Partnership (LLP), chats with FourFourTwo Malaysia exclusively about the organisation, his plans for the local football scene, and the future...
What is Football Malaysia LLP?
It is a new vehicle to drive Malaysian football forward. Its main function is to run and operate the Malaysian Super League, Malaysian Premier League, Malaysian FA Cup, Malaysia Cup and Charity Cup, and commercialise them to achieve the greatest values possible in the long run.
How about MP & Silva? How do they fit into the picture?
MP & Silva’s role in the company is limited to the areas they are involved in. Football Malaysia LLP will undertake different partnerships in different areas, so we can, for instance, commercialise things and invest in infrastructure. In the case of MP & Silva, their involvement is limited to the broadcast and commercial rights of the five properties I mentioned earlier. They will not be involved with the five properties’ day-to-day operation, but we will always consider their input on how we can improve and benefit commercially.
When you were CEO at Kelantan, you aggressively looked for sponsorships, which has served them well until today. Can we expect the same drive from you in this new role?
Of course. I think one of the strong points of my appointment was probably my commercial strengths that I showed during my time at Kelantan. I will definitely look at areas to generate more income for the league, which in turn will give more money to the teams.
Speaking of Kelantan, are you worried that certain fans might accuse you of favouring your old team in the future?
I don’t think it is accurate to suggest that because it is like saying the CEO of Manchester United can never be the CEO of the Premier League. In my current role, some of the things that I definitely cannot influence are the game results and how much money Kelantan will get from future sponsorships. My role is to ensure that commercially the company is able to give back as much as it can to the teams, and grow the league in the years to come.
As for my previous involvement with Kelantan, I don’t see it as a chink in my armour. Rather, it is a proof that I can do my job. I hope the fans can see that I have been on the side of a football club and that I understand what that side needs. I hope they can see it is better than having someone with no football background at all.
Well, regardless of that, all eyes will be on your company and not the FAM anymore on what will happen to the M-League in the future. Judging from what the FAM has experienced over the past years, don’t you think it is too big of a task?
I was warned by His Highness Tengku Abdullah [President of the FAM] in a meeting before I was appointed that it is a high-profile position. However, I still took it because the opportunity was presented to me to make a difference in Malaysian football, and I will strive to achieve that. People have the right to criticise me, so all I need to do is to walk the walk instead of just talk to talk.