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No approval from Fifa yet, but ASL confident of being a game-changer
No Fifa approval yet, confirms ASL committee, but it is already working out details of competition
The Asean Super League (ASL) committee has confirmed that it has yet to receive approval from Fifa to allow it to move into the final phase and launch the proposed new elite club competition.
But it is already working to put in place guidelines and rules that will ensure a high level of football when it eventually gets the nod.
Responding to queries from The New Paper yesterday, a spokesman for the committee, which comes under the umbrella of the Asean Football Federation (AFF), said: “At this stage, we can confirm only that the ASL is still undergoing the process of approval by world governing body Fifa.”
Any notion that football associations in the region are not united behind the ASL proposal was dispelled, when the spokesman said that “at the last AFF Council meeting, all members pledged their support for the league. That is why we have been working hard towards making the ASL a reality.”
The belief among the regional members is that the ASL “will be a game changer for the sport in the region.”
Read the full report in our print edition on Aug 4.
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Kraljevic sees red with striker's red card
Controversy as Tigers' striker gets red card
BALESTIER KHALSA 1
(Miroslav Kristic 39)
HOME UNITED 1
(Azhar Sairudin 64)
A referee's whistle turned Balestier Khalsa head coach Marko Kraljevic into the Hulk at the Toa Payoh Stadium last night.
With his side leading Home United 1-0 in their Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League match, the German-born Croat thought his side were about to double their advantage when attacking midfielder Tarik Cmajcanin burst through on goal, one-on-one with the goalkeeper in the 62nd minute.
But referee G Letchman blew his whistle just before Cmajcanin could pull the trigger.
The man in the middle stopped play because the fourth official, Nathan Chan, had communicated to him that a foul had been committed.
With Kraljevic going nuts on the touchline, complaining about his side's missed opportunity, Letchman consulted Chan before walking back onto the pitch and flashing a red card at a bemused Balestier striker, Miroslav Kristic.
Kristic, who had put Balestier ahead with a 39th-minute header, was adjudged by Chan to have elbowed Home defender Abdil Qaiyyim before playing the pass to set Cmajcanin through on goal.
The two were tussling before Kristic laid on the pass, with Abdil left in a heap clutching his face, but Kraljevic was livid.
"You saw it," he told The New Paper after the match, which ended 1-1.
"I don't know what to say.
"We had the ball, my guy was one-on-one, then the referee blows the whistle, gives a red card to another one of my players."
Worse was to come for Kraljevic and Balestier.
When play resumed following Kristic's sending-off, Home immediately equalised, with Azhar Sairudin sweeping the ball home from close range.
Later, when Balestier were not awarded a free-kick for a rough challenge on Cmajcanin, Kraljevic bellowed at Chan: "Oh, now you cannot see?"
And when Home midfielder Yasir Hanapi accidentally knocked Letchman onto his backside in the 89th minute, the home side's fans broke out in cheers and ironic applause.
Chan was involved in another refereeing controversy earlier this season when, as a fourth official, he allowed Laos Police to make five substitutions in their 2-1 RHB Singapore Cup preliminary-round defeat by Geylang International.
Home coach Philippe Aw suggested the right decision was made by the officials to send Kristic off, and said: "I was there, I could see clearly the elbow.
"I'm glad the fourth official did something.
"The referees did their job, good for us."
Hougang United v Warriors FC (Hougang Stadium, 7.30pm)