Check FAM, please
Johor Crown Prince says Malaysian clubs are shortchanged by national association
The president of the Malaysian champions has called on Fifa to investigate the country's football association, claiming it had failed to tackle corruption and accusing it of hoarding broadcast revenues from the clubs.
Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, whose Johor Darul Ta'zim FC side won back-to-back Super League (MSL) titles and are through to the final of the regional AFC Cup, took the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) to task over several issues.
He said it was culpable for the country's slide to a worst-ever Fifa ranking of 171st, after a record 10-0 defeat by the United Arab Emirates last month.
The 31-year-old, who is also the crown prince of Johor, said: "Nobody is interested in moving forward or bringing football to another level, but everyone is interested in his own sake and position.
"Most of the clubs are handled by politicians and they all want to play safe."
Tunku Ismail had failed in his bid to become FAM president last year, losing out to Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, who went on to take a seat on the Fifa executive committee.
The crown prince, who said he would not contest the post again, was invited to be an adviser to Tengku Abdullah, but that arrangement lasted only two months after he became frustrated at the slow system.
One of the changes he wanted was for the referees to have a separate body, independent of the FAM to avoid conflicts of interest.
Another was to employ Sportradar to monitor betting patterns on matches for possible match-fixing.
Neither received a reply, even when he offered to foot the Sportradar bill after the FAM baulked at the cost.
The question of FAM finances is a particularly sore point for the outspoken prince.
In January, the FAM agreed a 15-year deal with MP & Silva, with the media rights company committed to pumping at least RM 1.2 billion ($393 million) into the association. The deal will also see the MSL privatised next season.
Tunku Ismail said talks were continuing between clubs, MP & Silva and the FAM on how the money would be distributed, but was not pleased with what had been proposed.
"By right, in every league in the world, every club participating should have 90 to 95 per cent of the broadcasting rights that would help them to have their own youth development project, improve infrastructure and have a quality team," he said.
"But the problem is FAM only gives 22 per cent to the teams, so each team will only get RM 1 million, while FAM enjoys the chunk of 47 million...
"What FAM is doing is basically stealing the money from the club and the world has to know that. It is wrong."
Tunku Ismail said his protests at the FAM, routinely shared on social media, had received little support from his fellow club presidents, blaming a generation gap and their keenness to maintain the status quo.
He called on fans to boycott matches around the country if they wanted to impact on the authority.
"Every club should have 90 to 95 per cent of the broadcasting rights that would help them to have their own youth development project, improve infrastructure and have a quality team."
— Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim