FFT’s MSL mid-season review: The off-field drama that hogged the headlines

Ahead of the return of the Malaysia Super League this weekend, we have taken a look at the action off the pitch over the first half of the season that hogged the headlines and produced many talking points...

KELANTAN MADE TO PAY

Bogged down with financial problems, largely due to poor decision-making and management’s constant changing of coaches and import players, the Red Warriors were finally handed a penalty for not paying up.

Many of the club’s former players and coaches have repeatedly slammed Kelantan for not settling a variety of money-related matters ranging from salaries to compensation and other statutory obligations.

Football Malaysia Limited Liability Partnership (FMLLP) served Kelantan several reminders to furnish documents on salaries, income tax, provident fund and insurance payments to complete their 2017 registration, but they fell on deaf ears.

The appointment of Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim as Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) president in March, however, meant the guardians of the domestic competitions grew fangs.

Kelantan and three other teams – T-team, Perlis and ATM – were docked six points and handed a conditional transfer ban, which only allows the signing of new players if it benefitted the club’s financial standing. Three points were reinstated after the teams sought ways to get things right, but Kelantan were still barred from signing L’Imam Seydi.

FMLLP have allowed Kelantan to sign Abou Bakr as they received a considerable amount of money by selling Mohamed Ghaddar to JDT.

'SURPRISE, JDT HAVE A FEEDER CLUB!'

Football followers were caught by surprise when FMLLP sanctioned a swap move that saw under-performing JDT striker Jeronimo Barrales move to JDT II, while Argentine Gabriel Guerra moved the other way, all well after the transfer window had shut.

READ ALSO: ‘Surprise’ feeder club arrangement dents FMLLP’s credibility

FMLLP announced that JDT and JDT II had in August 2016 signed a feeder club agreement that allowed a limited number of moves outside the 2017 transfer window and prevented the latter from playing in the same competitions starting 2018.

Strangely, there were no feeder clubs regulations in place until at least November.

Just how JDT, JDT II and FMLLP were able to sign a feeder agreement before regulations existed was never explained despite queries.