Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Football, politics and politicians...

Readers of this blog may not agree with me but politics and sports in Malaysia do mix. They are intertwined, hence this posting. Picture this scenario - a president of a regional footballing body has taken action in his capacity as chairman of a political party's disciplinary board against a president of a State FA, president of a reality tv show and a former State FA president.

Tengku Ahmad Rithaudeen Ismail is the president of Asean Football Federation (AFF) and a former deputy president of FA of Malaysia (FAM). The former Cabinet minister earlier today chaired the meeting which decided to bar Malacca FA president Datuk Ali Rustam from contesting the UMNO elections next week, but MyTeam president YB Khairy Jamaluddin, a current deputy president of FAM, was let off with a stern warning. Former Selangor FA president Datuk Seri Mohd Khir Toyo was found not guilty.

So is football a platform to further one's interests?



FAM harus dibersihkan daripada orang politik. Kehadiran mereka ini adalah antara penyumbang terbesar kepada kemerosotan bola sepak negara.

Sering kali tindakan diambil hanya sekadar untuk menonjolkan diri. Bola sepak sekadar menjadi batu loncatan buat mereka.

Secara umumnya sukan kita telah lama atau sudah sebati dengan politik dan orang politik. Mereka inilah yang menjahanamkan segala-galanya.

Pemain - walaupun mereka turut menyumbag kepada kemerosotan - hanya sekadar menjadi tempat untuk orang politik membelasah jika gagal dan tumpang semangkuk kalu berjaya.

Kita dapat melihat bagaimana bola sepak dipolitikan beberapa tahun lalu bilamana pasukan MyTeam ditubuhkan dan mendapat sokongan kepimpinan tertinggi negara - sesuatu yang luar biasa - hingga MyTeam seolah-olah pasukan elit sambil menyaksikan pasukan kebangsaan dikutuk. Aneh bukan?

Walaupun sudah terlambat tetapi ruang tetap ada untuk berubah. Kita kena 'berani berubah' demi masa depan bola sepak khususnya, sukan negara amnya.

Anonymous said...

Sumber: www.kelate.net

The Malaysian Football League - A Letter to FAM VP and General Secretary PDF Cetak Emel
Ditulis oleh DShahrul
WEDNESDAY, 18 MARCH 2009 00:39
First of all, I would like to extend my sincere congrats for your achievement so far as the top men of FAM. This might sound cynical, but please be assured that this is truly a compliment. You have indeed changed the fa├žade of Malaysian football/league.

Super league and premier league have in some ways managed to get itself into people’s conversation. Having said that, there are still a lot that the whole football management people of all level (FAM, state FA’s) can do to put MSL in the limelight in its homeland.

Why Malaysian Football is failing? Certainly I am in no position whatsoever to mingle on that issue. Inside people like veterans, coaches, and people from FAM itself has spoken on this. Lack of facilities, lack of development at all levels, non-standard training etc. Frankly, I have no idea how to get things corrected, if indeed they are truly the problems. But I do sense one major factor that could be the start of all these problems.


I read an article in a newspaper, quoting state FA management saying that they used to have good development at the grassroot level – forming young teams, having state level leagues etc – during Dunhill’s tenure as our main sponsor. Ever since TM took over, the sponsorship is no longer as luxurious. Hence development and state level activities are hampered. Not only that, even basic things like salary, EPF, and insurance are a problem.

Perhaps one would say that this is the state FA’s fault; not being able to secure sponsorship, and are only hoping for the annual grant from FAM. I’m assuming that this is a truism in Malaysian football. But how would they find sponsors if nobody is convince that sponsoring them would ensure return for the sponsors? Who would sponsor a team that has 10 fans in the stadium at every home game? Who would sponsor any team playing in a league that is less covered by local media compared to the ‘bloody’ EPL?

So I have come to my point: media, marketing, and making MSL cool.

MSL, or any other professional league for that matter, is a business. It is a money making instrument. It needs people to put money into it. It sells entertainment. It offers fun and adrenalin-pumping sessions to the people. Perhaps it is appropriate to put professional football under the service sector. And like any service sectors, it needs marketing to attract customers. It needs media coverage. The nature of the business requires it to be sensationalized. MSL coverage has to be hyped up. It needs to be glorified. Players and coaches/managers should be treated as stars.

Do we have all that in our league? How well does RTM, TV3, Utusan Malaysia, The Star, or NST does the hyping up of our local league? Sadly, I think, not much.

This is the type of reports we had back then. They know that the combination of statistics and sports works wonders at spicing up people’s interest. Sadly, all we have now is the ‘sementara itu di stadium xxxx’ kind of reports.

Our football is not good, sure. But was it better back in those days? The problem with our football is just that we did not improve as much as the others (Korea, Japan, Myanmar) have. That is all. Not that the quality of football deteriorated over the years. I would say that Hardi Jaafar would be star if he plays along Mokhtar Dahari. He could be even better than Mokhtar! Indeed, the quality of football in Malaysia is better compared to 10 years ago. The difference is just the number of empty seats in stadium. It was less then. And surely, the way Malaysian League was reported in TV and newspapers back then was also different. It was lively, hype, glorious, cool, and most importantly, without all the EPL crap!

Just look a the empty seats. What? Can’t see any?

They say money is not everything, but believe me, it helps a lot. How could a team generating RM 1000 each game from ticket collection (RM10 per ticket, 100 people came to see) would compare to a team generating RM150,000 (RM10 per ticket, 15,000 people came to see). How teams like Johor and N.Sembilan Naza would compare to Kelantan or Kedah? Mind you, ticket collection by state FA’s also impact collection by FAM.

Let us take the example of Kelantan. Kelantan was the first state team to ever play in the FAM league (third tier league). They also hold the title as the only state team without any major title or cups.

During the down years, they lost their fans. Stadium Sultan Muhammad IV wasn’t full. Nobody knows the name of the players.

Then, in 2007, came along Tan Sri Annuar Musa.

The first thing that he did was to put the team into the newspaper. Suddenly, a news about Kelantan trying out some foreign players was on the backpage (or front page for sports section) of Sinar Harian. The news was about the team’s preparation for the 07/08 premier league campaign, featuring 3 South American players (with pictures of course) during the tryout. Eventhough Kelantan ended up not taking any of those Latinos, it was the news that was significant. It sparks up people’s attention, particularly the Kelantanese. It was during this season that fans were back at the stadium.

Mind you, it was not because of the team’s improvement in performance that brought back the fans. It was the marketing; hyping up news about the team. Engaging the media. Kelantan did ok, but not superbly in that season. Kelantan did not even promoted to the Super League (finishing third in the table). They lost their bid for FA cup at the 2nd stage, and did not qualify to the quarter finals of Malaysia Cup.

Still, the fans were dying to know about the team’s preparation for the next season (this season). Fans were excited even before the team was promoted to the Super League by luck. Fans flock to friendly games, KAFA Aidilfitri Open House, launching of the new jersey (when it was still the celcom emblem on it, since Kelantan were still a premier league team at that time). The fansite www.kelate.net were always exciting with fans joining in discussions in their internet forums. Tan Sri Annuar gives special treatment to the fan club, putting them as part of the team. Sessions of meeting with fans were done at shopping malls, and fans flocked to get to see their players. Media were called to make coverage of all KAFA and team events.

Tan Sri Annuar continues to put his creative thinking for the benefit of the team, by portraying the team as a nature loving bunch of players. Environmental CSR sessions were done, and again, media were called to cover. Recently, KAFA held the Gala Dinner Nite’ to engage with possible sponsors. Prime Minister was called, because of course, that’s the game of getting things. (this is how all politicians in state FAs should contribute to their respective teams).

I was fascinated by a statement by Tan Sri Annuar during KAFA’s Aidilfitri open house (during which Indra Putra was introduced), that “teams and players are also like politicians and artists. They also need publicity”. He says, media has to help all football teams so that they could get attention from fans, hence luring them to stadium. I couldn’t have agreed more. And to me, he has proven it with the thousands of fans packing the stadiums. (in some ways, helping other FA’s as well, since Kelantan fans will pack their stadiums whenever they play against Kelantan. They even run out of tickets during the match against your team, or rather MyTeam). And I think Kelantan is the only team that calls for press statement (in a special room in the stadium) at the end of every game in Kota Bharu.

I have always blamed the invasion of EPL as one of the main cause of loss of interest on local league among Malaysian. Yes, their football is better. But think again, why isn’t Malaysian concern about SerieA Italy or Germany’s Bundesliga? Or what about the French League or the Brazilian League? Arguably these nations have better quality of football compared to the ‘bloody’ EPL. I think the answer is the way the EPL was marketed. It was put into our television. EPL is pumped to our homes. And when things are continuously pumped to us, we will start treating them as our own.

We should have pump our own league into our homes. Perhaps someone was making money with the EPL. I’m putting that person/those people full responsibility for the deterioration of our local football quality.

Enough said, this would be my suggestions;

1) Usage of media
- There should be a special pullout in newspapers during matchday. Analysis of every game, predictions, statements by coaches/managers. Player analysis.
- Post-game analysis. Each game should be given its own article, rather than lumping all matches in one article, with phrases like ‘sementara itu di stadium xxxxx’.
- Ask other media entity to join in; Media Prima and Astro, of course. Hence, we could have 3 live games instead of 1, or perhaps have live games for Premier League too. This would also push RTM to improve their delivery in covering the league. Frankly, there is much to be desired.
- FAM’s website needs great improvement, particularly in the basic ‘updating’ activities.

2) Fiesta & free entrance to stadium
- of course, this is not for the whole season. I would suggest that perhaps the first 2 home games for next season are given free admission. Not only that, set up a fiesta at the stadium compound. Setting up of TM stalls that are going on now are perhaps not enough. There should be performances, singers, Ferris wheels for god’s sake. Lure people to the stadium. Lure them into being passionate about their teams.

3) Limit coverage of EPL in local media
- I would go further into asking Astro to put EPL games involving the big 4 teams into sports blockbuster, where people can only watch them in ‘pay-per-view’ basis. I understand that FAM is considering setting up games during which there are no EPL games. I don’t think that would work, because people are not refusing to go to the stadium because they want to watch EPL. They don’t go to the stadium because they are not passionate about local football.

4) Get back sponsorship from Dunhill.
- or get more money from TM, or any other sponsors. As I said, state FA’s were getting more money during Dunhill’s tenure as sponsor. Indeed this goes against the aspirations of the government, and it would be difficult for FAM to proceed with that. But coming to think about it, what’s wrong with promoting cigarettes, if that can lure people away from watching a league that is sponsored by beer companies (Carlsberg sponsors Liverpool, and of course Tiger Beer sponsors the pre-game programs)

5) Involvement of Fan Clubs in information Sharing.
- It seems that the fan clubs are better than the mainstream media when it comes to making predictions and overall being football pundits than the mainstream media. Ganusoccer.net, kelate.net, yob4ever.com, hijaukuning.com, ultracrocs.com, harimaumalaya.com, selangorfanatic.com, and other football fansites, have many competent and local-football-savvy people. Their written reports are at par with newspaper reports. Some of them even set up live online radio commentary for each game. It is these passionate people that FAM needs to use and help to spice up our local football.

Indeed, there are many technical elements that perhaps are more important for FAM to focus on in improving our football. But please, put back the Malaysian League and Malaysian football to the place where it deserve; in the hearts of all Malaysia.

Meanwhile, to Malaysian football fans, please don’t run away from our league. We are Malaysian, and despite how much we watch EPL, we are still Malaysian, and the Malaysian Football League is still our league. Yes, there are problems, and it is our problem. Solving problems is always better than running away from it. Abandoning Malaysian League and turning to EPL doesn’t solve our problem. The least we could do as fans is to go to the stadiums and cheer for our team.

Give it a try and see if the problem can be solved by doing just that – going to the stadium.

Shamer Kapor said...

helo bro,

Lu jgn main bantai semacam jer macam FAM buat kerja. Ali Rustam Shahrukh Khan tu bukan Presiden MAFA la. Dia mana minat bola ni.... Dulu jadi presiden kejap, lepas tu blah macam tu jer. Tu sebab bola Melaka macam hidup segan mati tak mau jer.

Ali Shahrukhan ni lebih minat tengok hindustan jer dari nak memajukan bola di Melaka.

Shamer Kapor
Ayer Keroh

KK said...

Macam mana KJ boleh lepas? Bersalah tapi cuma kena amaran. Baik tak payah bagi amaran....

Wan said...

Football and politics doesn't mix. They have no interest in bringing back he glory days of football...its all for personal gain.

Ahli Bebas said...

UM** dengan F** dua kali lima saja. Ke mana tumpah kuah kalau tidak ke nasi?

Rithaudeen pernah jadi Timbalan Presiden F** sedikit masa dulu. Jadi tak heran la....

Anonymous said...

interesting way to link all this together....no wonder our football never improves - leaders are too busy in the political world!

Anonymous said...

No money. No honey.

For the Game. For the World.

anak ayah said...

MEREKA yang didapati bersalah oleh UM** tidak layak lagi menerajui pertubuhan sukan di negara ini. Di bimbangi gejala itu akan berjangkit kepada para pegawai, pengadil dan pemain.

Kalau ayah kencing berlari, jangan salahkan anak-anak kalau dia orang melepas main ikut dan je nanti.

ketua puteri said...

Jika dalam pemilihan parti pun mereka boleh berlaku curang dan tidak amanah, apakah jaminan bahawa mereka boleh menunaikan amanah rakyat melalui jawatan yang disandang sekarang tanpa sebarang penyelewengan.

Oleh itu mereka wajib meletakkan semua jawatan yang disandang untuk memberikan laluan buat rakyat memilih pemimpin yang lebih bersih dari mereka.

epain said...

masalah ni bukan masalah msia je...

bnyk lagi negara yg melibatkan politik dalam sukan....

ambik contoh itali sudah,

bekas pm, sylvio berlusconi merupakan presiden ac milan walaupun masih memegang jawatan pm...

bezanya di itali dan msia ialah, politician di sini tak professional...

kebanyakannya emotional....

cuba bayangkan apkah sedang berlaku dalam persatuan bolasepak perak, PAFA....

YB Nizar masih president pafa, tapi mb dah bertukar....

Wakil Calon said...

Yang pasti memeranjatkan umum adalah perbezaan antara hukuman berat yang dijatuhkan ke atas Mohd Ali dengan hanya amaran yang dikenakan ke atas Khairy.

Khairy serta merta mengisytiharkan dirinya tidak bersalah tetapi senada dengan itu berkata dia menghormati keputusan lembaga itu.

Soalnya, bagaimanakah di suatu pihak dia berkata dia tidak bersalah sedangkan di pihak yang lain dia berkata dia menghormati keputusan Lembaga Disiplin yang mendapatinya bersalah?

Malaysiakini dalam laporannya memetik Khairy sebagai berkata: "Yang penting adalah saya hanya diberi amaran dan dibenarkan bertanding. Saya masih akan bertanding."

Menantu Perdana Menteri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi itu berkata ada percubaan (agenda) untuk menyekat beliau daripada bertanding.

Apakah politik wang yang diheboh-hebohkan itu melibatkan dua orang calon ini sahaja?

Kalau begitu eloklah. Kalau tidak, apa yang terjadi kepada ikan-ikan besar yang lain?

DBKL said...

LANGKAH FAM untuk membatalkan penyertaan MBJB dan mengekalkan keputusan perlawanan yang terdahulu adalah sesuatu yang aneh dan lucu. Jika sudah batal, mengapa kekalkan keputusan tersebut?

Memberikan kemenangan 3-0 kepada pasukan-pasukan yang belum lagi bertemu MBJB pula menambahkan kekusutan yang sedia ada dan menjadi bahan tawa. Persoalan yang timbul samalah seperti yang diinyatakan di atas.

Sepatutnya, jika FAM ingin membatalkan penyertaan MBJB, maka adalah wajar supaya semua keputusan yang melibatkan pasukan tersebut turut dimansuhkan termasuk layangan kad kuning. Walau bagaimanapun, kad merah yang diterima tetap dikira kerana ini melibatkan soal displin dan salahlaku.

Tak kan benda kecil dan mudah macam ini pun FAM tak boleh fikir?