The Sultan stood his ground this morning. Flanked by general secretary Lt Jen (B) Datuk Azzuddin Ahmad, exco members Datuk Aziz Abdul Rahman and Datuk Raja Ahmad Zainuddin Raja Omar, FA of Malaysia president Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah said the national body is sticking to their guns.
Sports Minister Datuk Ismail Sabri Yaakob's immediate concern is to recoup the RM8 million paid to promoter Gifted Group Limited.
Sports Minister, YB Datuk Ismail Sabri Yaakob, is meeting His Royal Highness Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah, the FA of Malaysia (FAM) president, at the Istana Pahang in Kuala Lumpur tomorrow morning. A press conference is scheduled at 10.0am.
YB Bera will have a tough time persuading the Sultan to change his mind and give his royal blessings to the Champions Youth Cup (CYC).
As it stands, the Sultan is not likely to give in. Unless YB Bera can promise something in return for FAM's blessings of the CYC.
If I were in YB Bera's shoes, I would suggest to Tuanku that in return for FAM's sanction, KBS fully commit a certain sum of money to help develop the game at all levels. Promise to Tuanku that this year's edition is the last we hear of CYC and the money for staging rights be channelled to FAM and its affiliates and help expose the national team to overseas tournaments.
YB Bera will have to master the art of delicate diplomacy in the sports fraternity. Or YB Bera has the option of arm-twisting FAM in a very subtle way.
Since FAM has been funded by NSC, an agency under KBS, the Ministry can issue an ultimatum that if FAM does not sanction the CYC, all forms of financial assistance be withdrawn.
But I doubt this will be the route taken by YB Bera because given the present scenario, the rakyat are not happy that KBS had splurged RM17 on staging rights alone and another RM8 million to the promoter this year.
The rakyat are behind Tuanku in this particular issue. Daulat Tuanku.
From my personal perspective, I feel the real culprit is being let off scot free. And that's a shame.