Clubs must settle arrears to play next season

The financial status also takes into account arrears owed to govt agencies such as the IRB, EPF and Socso

MALAYSIA League (M-League) teams competing in the Super League and Premier League will not be allowed to play next season if they fail to settle the salary arrears of players and team staff this season.

Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) secretary-general Stuart Ramalingam (picture) said the FAM Club Licensing First Instance Body will examine the financial status of all 24 M-League teams before issuing the licences.

The financial status also takes into account arrears owed to government agencies such as the Inland Revenue Board (IRB), Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and Social Security Organisation (Socso).

“If a team still has unsettled debts this year, it will be difficult for them to get a national licence next year,” he told Bernama recently.

Kedah and Kelantan face a tough situation ahead of the privatisation process of the M-League next season, as they have reportedly been unable to settle players’ salary arrears so far.

Yesterday, FAM took a stern action by deducting three points from Kelantan in the Premier League competition following the Kelantan FA’s failure to pay the salary arrears of players and officials according to the set schedule.

Meanwhile, Ramalingam said several M-League teams are currently actively pursuing the process of converting FA status into FC (football club) ahead of M-League’s privatisation.

He stressed that FAM will not be extending the application period for the conversion process which ends next month.

Ramalingam previously revealed that four M-League teams had completed the club privatisation process, while another 12 teams were in the process of doing so.

The process is seen to be capable of improving team management, besides being among the best ways to resolve the financial crunch faced by the teams which have often relied on state government funding to pay their players’ salaries.

In a separate note, Kedah FA (KFA) assured that it will settle salary arrears involving Kedah Super League squad in stages starting March salary which will be paid before Aug 15.

KFA president Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor said the management will pay the April to July salaries after the payment negotiation process is completed between the players and squad officials soon.

“A special finance committee on the matter will be formed to find the best method for a win-win situation for the players and association, as the 2020 Super League season will resume on Aug 26,” he said in a statement issued by KFA yesterday.

Muhammad Sanusi said KFA agreed to retain the management until the end of M-League this season, but the number of appointments in the team will be reviewed to reduce the team’s budget next season.

Currently, the Red Eagle squad comprised of 48 individuals involving players and officials, which KFA said has led to the hike in the team’s budget.

Subsequently, the committee will also be tasked with seeking new sponsors and holding negotiations promptly with potential sponsors.

Muhammad Sanusi said KFA requires a minimum RM25 million to complete the operations and management of the team this season.

“The drastic action in setting up the committee is to overcome the financial burden since September 2019. The outstanding EPF and IRB contributions to date stand at RM3.8 million and have to be settled fast,” he said.

Meanwhile, Muhammad Sanusi said the Red Eagle squad will hold four warm-up actions in Selangor, Perak and Alor Setar in preparation for M-League’s resumption on Aug 26.

To bolster the management of the Red Eagle squad, Muhammad Sanusi said, a former player of the team, Muhamad Radhi Mat Din was appointed as Team Management chairman. — Bernama