Let Us Love You, FAM
March 29, 2013

Like a bald eagle lurking for prey, FAM’s Article 88 has claimed yet another casualty. This time in the form of national team coach Datuk K. Rajagopal, who apparently told the press that the M-League lacks local strikers.

Not for condemning the organization. Not for complaining about the referee. Not for taking the General Secretary’s parking spot.

But for merely stating a harmless fact. A statement only as detrimental as say, “My pants are tight!” or “Who let the dogs out?”

As absurd as the charge against Rajagopal was, it didn’t really come as a big surprise to anyone. He’s not the first national team coach to fall victim to the clause. In 2009, B. Sathianathan was banned for six month for branding the M-League “non-football”. His statement came after we lost 5 – 0 to the UAE at home and while he was partly at fault for the thrashing, dishing out on his players as playing in a non-football league was rather kind.

In essence, Article 88 states that only the upper echelons of FAM are allowed to talk about the national team in the media. Everyone else is to remain tight-lipped. And by “everyone else”, they mean, and I quote, “official, coach of the association or referee or any member or associate member or player registered or employed with any member or associate member”.

By the end of that sentence, I wondered if I’m affected too for being a member of my local library book club.

While Article 88 may be a fair control mechanism on paper, to protect the reputation of the organization, its rigid implementation is making FAM look like an authoritarian entity.

As a football fan, I see FAM as the body responsible for driving our national football team and domestic league forward. The unit that will continuously find innovative ways to bring our football to the next level. Somewhere beyond number 164 in the FIFA World Ranking. I didn’t even know there were that many countries out there.

If their time is instead spent on “investigating” and “looking further” into petty comments such as the one Rajagopal has made, then perhaps FAM ought to consider setting its priorities straight. The guy is under enough pressure already trying to meet the expectations of us, the demanding supporters of Harimau Malaya. Cut the man some slack and let him do his job.

As harsh as some of the public’s reactions toward Article 88 might sound, the collective voice that everyone has deep down is for the best of Malaysian football. We wouldn’t be making this much noise if we didn’t care. This sport is probably one of the only few things that bring us all together. This and Maharaja Lawak Mega.

So come on, FAM. Let’s put our egos aside and sort this thing out. We want to love you. Don’t make it so hard.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Photography by Azalia Suhaimi

  • Asrif, b. 1983
  • Subang Jaya, Malaysia
  • asrifomar[@]gmail[.]com
Published Travels
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 Malaysia License.