Fernandes wonders if the football fraternity will accept him

by BERNAMA / pic by TMR FILE

KUALA LUMPUR  AirAsia Group Bhd chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes (picture) who is linked as a candidate to be the next Malaysian Football League (MFL) president is wondering whether the football fraternity would accept him to take up the hot seat.

The owner of the English professional football club, Queens Park Rangers (QPR) said he is invariably up to the challenges and would give 100 per cent in carrying out his responsibilities with the sports that is close to his heart.

However, with his image as an airline man, he is leaving it to the football community and the MFL board of directors to assess whether he has the criteria needed to replace outgoing MFL president Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin.

“Can the football fraternity accept me? I don’t know if I’m running MFL, sounds scary but all I know is I will put 100 per cent energy into it. That’s for the football dudes to decide whether they want an airline guy in their group.

“I don’t know whether MFL wants me as the number one, but you see, asked me to be Malaysian team manager I would love to do it, anything involving sports comes naturally to me, I love competition and I want Malaysia to do well,” he told reporters recently.

With the challenges faced by MFL during the COVID-19 pandemic, Fernandes is seen as a candidate who is able to inject a new dimension in attracting more sponsors thus increasing the total revenue as well as the commercial value of the M-League.

But he refused to make extravagant promises too early, instead seeing supporters also playing an important role in contributing to the increasing commercial value of the league.

“It’s very clear I love sports, yeah I can do it but can I guarantee to lift up the MFL financially, (that one) I have no idea, can I guarantee revenue, who knows.

“But one thing about being commercial, football needs money, are the people prepared to pay to watch football ? So for the MFL to change, Malaysians have to realise that if you want good quality product you need to pay a bit more as well, and television stations have to be involved,” he said.

Last Tuesday Fernandes who is a leading corporate figure expressed his willingness to fill MFL’s number one seat following Hamidin’s intention to step down after being returning unopposed as Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) president for a second term last Saturday.