FAM challenge TMJ to reveal flash drive, pledge 2017 mandate

Changes in Malaysian football will have to wait following the Football Association of Malaysia’s (FAM) decision to maintain the status quo, including persuading wantaway president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah to stay on until the 2017 Congress.

We have agreed to be collectively responsible. So the elections that were due in 2018 will be brought forward to next year

A week after Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) owner Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim claimed victory, stating the FAM executive committee (Exco) members had agreed to vacate their post and retire, the national body stood firm and insisted that retirement was the last thing on their minds.

The FAM Exco will, however, seek a fresh mandate at their 2017 annual general meeting (AGM). The Exco also decided to keep Tengku Abdullah as president despite the latter publicly voicing his desire to step away from Malaysian football several times already.

“I am still the deputy and Tengku Abdullah is the president,” said Datuk Seri Afandi Hamzah.

“We discussed the president’s decision and have agreed to be collectively responsible. So the elections that were due in 2018 will be brought forward to next year and we will be seeking a fresh mandate from the affiliates.”

The 2016 AGM is only scheduled for September, thus meaning the current Exco could even be in power until the end of 2017.

“The secretariat have been asked to find a suitable date next year as per regulations in the statute,” Afandi said.

“We cannot walk away from our responsibilities at this moment and need to execute the plans already underway. The AFF Suzuki Cup is just months away and we don’t want to create any chaos.”

Malaysian football has been in turmoil since four key internationals – Safiq Rahim, Aidil Zafuan Abdul Radzak, S. Kunanlan and Amirul Hadi Zainal – quit the national team in July.

Tunku Ismail, who earlier this month said  FAM officials agreed to retire, claimed the quartet was fed up with FAM’s ways and their retirements were a sign of protest.

Tunku Ismail also claimed to have in his possession a flash drive detailing the corruption within the national body, but refused to hand it over to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), insisting he wanted to give the FAM Exco a chance to resign gracefully.

Another FAM deputy-president Datuk Abdul Mokhtar Ahmad insisted FAM had already responded well to all the allegations and need not address them further.

When asked if TMJ should reveal the contents of the flash drive to end further speculation of its contents, Mokhtar said: “I think Tunku Ismail has made it clear that whatever information in the flash drive belongs to him … so it is up to him whether to release it or not.”

The AFF Suzuki Cup is just months away and we don’t want to create any chaos

Meanwhile, FAM denied the government-initiated National Football Development Programme (NFDP) was set to take over the youth department in FAM as part of a new formula publicised by Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin in recent weeks.

FAM, who were already part of the development programme as a partner, insisted there were many ways for the national body and NFDP to build a closer relationship.

“There were talks about how we can collaborate better because both have development plans and it shouldn’t be alien to each to other. There will be no change in terms of managing youth development, but we are looking to find better synergies,” said Mokhtar.

“We have our own programme that we are about to implement and we are in the process of selecting people to fill certain roles. NFDP will still run as a platform for those between 13 and 17 years of age, while FAM has its elite age-group teams to manage.”

Main photo: FAM