Wednesday, April 30, 2008


It seems that FAM has been left out of the organisational aspect of the CYC this year. Some of my friends in the football fraternity posed a few questions that are unanswered with regards to this whole saga and I believe that answers will be forthcoming over the next few days as the Malaysian media come to terms with what's happening. The questions may seem irrelevant at this time but surely they must be answered at one time. These are some observations made by those who read the NST story this morning.

1. Why is AFC getting involved in the organisational aspect in a Member Association? Can they do so and if yes then it must be pointed out under which clause of the AFC Statutes is tis being done?

( Am not clear about this but al I know is government interference is a big NO NO but I guess its OK to take their money)

2. Who applied for the sanction from FIFA? Obviously it is FAM so the question is has sanction been granted? Is it true that a three year sanction was granted?

( FIFA Statutes state that it is the Member Association that must apply for sanction if the event involves different continental federations)

3. If FAM had informed the Sports Ministry that they were no longer required, it is wise for the government agency to support the event?

( That is something that the Ministry will have to answer)

4. Based on the 1998 Sports Development Act, a company that organisors any sports event has to seek a license from the Sports Commissioners Office. Was this done last year and this year? Have the accounts been submitted to the Sports Commissioners Office as required under the Act?

(Again the Sports Commissioner, who happens to be the Chairman of the Organising Committee will have an answer to that)

5. Will Malaysia field a team in the tournament. If its officials are deemed not good enough then is the team good enough?

(Let's not mix these two things up please)

Suffice to say that if one were to read through the Sports Development Act 1998 and look at the very essence as to why this tournament was first conceived, the answers will be clear as the song goes - I can see clearly now the rain has gone. But for some its still hazy what sports is all about as their loyalty remains only to the first Yang DiPertuan Agong.

From the NST Today - Christopher Raj

THE Champions Youth Cup (CYC) saga took another twist yesterday when it emerged that the FA of Malaysia (FAM) will not be involved in any organisational aspect of the Under-19 tournament on Aug 5-16.

This is sure to invite further criticism for a tournament that costs the Sports Ministry RM17 million a year, especially as FAM cited its unwillingness to work with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) as its reason.

Given the latest development, it will be interesting to see the reaction from the Sports Ministry, considering the amount involved.

The AFC, said Jonathan Price - the chairman of tournament promoter Gifted Group, had offered to work together last year.

"We thought it was a good offer as they (AFC) agreed to help us in terms of football management, referees and the disciplinary committee," said Price.
"During our discussions with FAM officials, we clearly briefed them of the roles they would play. But none were happy or too pleased that AFC is involved."

Price said he had written to FAM on April 25, whose general secretary Lt Jen (Rtd) Datuk Azzuddin Ahmad confirmed having received it.

"The letter will be tabled at the FAM executive committee meeting on May 17," was all that Azzuddin was willing to say.

A copy of Price's letter to Azzuddin, which was made available to Timesport, stated that Gifted Group had an "agreement in place with the AFC to organise the event alongside Gifted.

"Whilst we would be pleased to also have FAM play a full role in this regard and welcome your positive attitude to the tournament, you will appreciate that we cannot renege upon commitments that we have already made to other parties.

"With regret, I must therefore decline your kind offer to assist us with the tournament organisation."

Gifted Group had met FAM officials on March 27 and discussed the possible involvement of the national body in the CYC. However, FAM had subsequently informed Philip Lay, general manager of the CYC that it had no wish to work alongside AFC in the organising of the tournament.

Price said Gifted Group's decision was not based on financial criteria.

"As a gesture of goodwill and and in recognition of the very positive relationship that we have developed with the FAM since your (Azzuddin's) appointment (as general secretary), I can confirm that I still propose to pay to the FAM the US30,000 (about RM96,000) that we had agreed for its services."

Price also confirmed that Gifted Group remained committed to the development programmes that it had constructed with FAM together with the Sports Ministry, National Sports Council and the Education Ministry.

FAM's relationship with AFC has been strained since the Asian body blocked Manchester United's tour of Malaysia which clashed with last year's Asian Cup which Malaysia co-hosted.

Sports Ministry officials could not be contacted for comments.

Yesterday's draw was conducted by AFC assistant general secretary Carlo Nohra and Malaysia were drawn in Group B with Ajax Amsterdam, Chelsea and AC Milan. The group will be based in Penang.

Champions Machester United are in Group D with Porto, Juventus and China and will play their matches in Kuala Terengganu.

Group A, which will be based in Kuantan, has PSV Eindhoven, Barcelona, Flamengo and India, while Lyon, Bayern Munich, River Plate and Qatar make up Group C which will be based in Malacca.

The semi-finals and final will be in Kuala Lumpur.

The groupings -- Group A: PSV Eindhoven, Barcelona, Flamengo, India.

Group B: Ajax Amesterdam, Chelsea, AC Milan, Malaysia.

Group C: Olympic Lyon, Bayern Munich, River Plate, Qatar.

Group D: Porto, Manchester United, Juventus, China.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Will this be the last edition of the CYC? Ironically FAM were not involved last year in organising the tournament so really what benefit is it to the nation, with exception of seeing some youngsters running around in four major cities playing to empty stadiums. Coming back to the benefits part, isn't the CYC also to help develop local sports officials, i.e to help the local football industry. But did that really happen last year? Do not expect it to happen this year either as word has it trouble is brewing.....

Monday, April 28, 2008


Something needs to be done for sports in Malaysia and although there has been much talk along the corridors of power, be it at Putrajaya or Bukit Jalil, nothing concrete has come out of it. There has been much said about the Cabinet Committee for Sports, but until and unless something concrete is visible, it is tantamount to empty vessels making noise.

And to continue with such juvenile carping is to do a great disservice to all the athletes who worked so hard to represent the nation.

The reality is that despite some occasional praiseworthy performance, the overall result for Malaysia in the international scene over the years was poor. It will continue to be poor until we provide long-term assistance for developing athletes.

At the same time we need to start getting the basics right by ensuring that sport plays a more relevant role at primary
school level. Sport in our primary schools is a joke at present. An increasing number of our school children are overweight and very few pupils receive sufficient exercise. This is a worrying trend, not only because it minimises our chances of producing top class sports performers, but also because of the future cost to our health care system. But the Government is doing too little too late to tackle the crisis.

One of the platforms in the National Sport's Council’s High Performance Strategy is to develop pathways for delivering high-level performances. They pay particular attention to the Physical Education and school sports. And yet through Government neglect, schools are our weakest link.

The Government has failed to invest in the building blocks. It needs to start putting the structures in place right now. We need a nationwide audit of sports facilities and participation levels among all age groups and social backgrounds.

Research shows that people who take up sport at an early age are more likely to be active into adulthood. Instead, through this insane penny pinching, the Government puts an added financial strain on our healthcare system and makes Olympic success the exception rather than the rule.

There are a number of measures aimed at increasing participation in sport and improving our chances in top competition. These include:

· Long term funding for existing top athletes
· Identification and support of developing athletes at an earlier age
· Increased funding for sports equipment and in facilities for schools
· The development of a new interlinked Physical Education curriculum at primary and secondary level
· A nationwide audit of sports facilities and participation levels
· Increase linkages between local government, schools and sports clubs to develop and share sports facilities.

A shared vision, a framework for opportunity and real achievement - in short, a strategy for sport - must be the goal of all those to whom sport and recreation really matter. There has never been a strategy for sport in Malaysia. It is high time that there is a document that sets out the vision, goals and targets to which we should aspire, amongst which should include:

- raising standards – supporting schools to review and develop their PE and school sport programmes to enhance the quality of provision;
- strategic planning – enhancing PE and sports development through development plans;
- primary liaison – establishing and developing PE and sports programmes for primary and special schools.
- school to community – building and supporting school/club links;
- out-of-school-hours activity – developing and supporting out-of-school- hours sports programmes (including inter and intra school competitions);
- coaching and leadership – developing leadership, coaching and officiating programmes to help pupils gain skills to enhance their future role with the
sporting community.

And until someone, somewhere realizes that this is what needs to be done, we will all be groping in thin air.


Corruption is the bane of society and football bribery is no exception. Due to rampant match-fixing, the Football Association of Malaysia is showing public determination and courage destroyed the very essence of our game in 1994. It was a disaster from which Malaysian football has never fully recovered.

So it is painful to hear that the scourge of match-fixing never really went away despite all the efforts of the FAM and relevant authorities. The suspicions were there as betting is endemic in the region but we always hoped that the players would, by and large, be true to themselves, their team and the game.

Apparently, that was too much to expect of them. Apparently, some of them cannot be trusted with such responsibility. Apparently, they are all suspect and have to be watched like criminals. That is really so sad.

But it is clear that bookies will always try to influence the outcome of a match wherever football is played and likely to be wagered upon. Their tentacles have encircled the beautiful game the world over. From Singapore to Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia to Africa and South America, match-fixing is having a coruscating effect on football. Even the super professional and high profile European leagues have not been spared.

But that is no excuse for what is happening here in Malaysia. What hope has the game got if we cannot keep it honest. We might as well dismantle the whole thing rather than perpetuate a corrupt system. We might as well return to the amateur days of yore when players had to toil at a job and play just for the love of the game. We may well have to if that is what will take to keep them and football honest.

For, whatever their rational may be to take payment to throw a match, it is an act of corruption. An unforgivable crime for which have to be punished. That the lessons of the past, the public humiliation, the banishments, suspensions and even life bans, have, apparently, failed to serve as a deterrent so FAM are duty-bound to take even more drastic action.

It is FAM’s responsibility to preserve the sanctity of the game and do whatever necessary to purge it of everything, and anything, that taints the game. It is no longer enough to say that we have had our suspicions but not the evidence to act. FAM have made no significant initiative to directly battle the cancer of match fixing and bribery since the 1994 crackdown. That cancer has since, silently, but surely, eaten into the entrails of the game once again.

The watch on corruption has to be a continuous one. Players will always be tempted by bookies and this problem is never going to go away. It is we who have to stay vigilant. But, typically, the tendency is always to grow complacent and let things slide or turn a blind eye until the squall becomes a raging tempest. That has always been the Malaysian way. But no more.

But how does one fight corruption? When you have an infection in your finger, you don’t cut off the whole hand. You treat the infected area the best you can and hope that it does not spread any further. The battle against match-fixing has to be handled the same way and knowing that absolutely no one is immune to it. That is the harsh reality. The scent of money is intoxicating,

There is no greater pleasure than watching a good, honest game of football. Without that assurance, the fans won’t come to the stadiums. They won’t buy tickets. An audience does not come to watch a “fixed” game. The financial and commercial damage may be irreversible. Without fans, there’s no football. Without spectators, the ratings are low and there are no advertisers. Nobody knows that better than FAM, which has yet to recover from the devastating consequences of that dark episode of 1994.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


More on the Indian Hockey Secretary Expose From Indian Newspapers

Chennai, April 21: Indian Hockey Association secretary K. Jothikumaran tried to put up a brave face before resigning from his post. A private news channel caught him accepting a bribe from people involved in a sting operation over the conduct of an international tournament.

Jothikumaran also included a 16-year-old in the national squad for next month’s Sultan Azlan Shah tournament at the insistence of the TV sting team. It’s reliably learnt that the player concerned was Lalit Upadhyay from Varanasi.

Jothikumaran told this newspaper a few minutes before his resignation that he was denying the TV channel’s allegations. "My conversation with a group of businessmen was only about an international tournament they had proposed to sponsor. I didn’t accept money for any player’s inclusion in the national team. One cannot mix both. I hadn’t given any assurance to them about the player’s place in the team," he added.

When asked whether the IHF secretary could accept cash from tournament sponsors, Jothikumaran said he would reply in detail on Tuesday. It is, however, all over for one of the key administrators of Indian hockey for close to a decade and a half.

PTI adds: Soon after the news channel beamed the sting operation Jothikumaran called up IHF president K.P.S. Gill and informed him that he had resigned from the post which he had occupied for close to 15 years.

The channel said in a release that its Special Investigation Team found that the selection process in hockey was not "always fair, the current administration is highly corrupt and that IHF president Gill is oblivious of the corrupt practices of his colleagues."

The channel claimed that after receiving a cash payment of Rs 2 lakh and taking a promise of another Rs 3 lakh to be given to his man in Delhi, Jothikumaran assured the channel’s team of getting a player picked up for the senior hockey team for the Azlan Shah hockey tournament next month.

It claimed that the bribe money was given to him in a five star hotel in Delhi in two instalments on April 10 and 11.

The Asian Age

NEW DELHI, April 21: Indian Hockey Federation secretary K Jothikumaran’s luck has finally run out. For years, the grapevine had buzzed with talk of shady deals involving him. Now, the man who held the second most powerful post in Indian hockey for 14 years has been exposed by a news channel's sting operation showing him taking money to get a player selected for the Azlan Shah Cup to be held at Kuala Lumpur in May. This is a fresh blow to the 'national game' that's already struggling to stay alive in the country.

Jothikumaran resigned late on Monday night after the damning evidence was aired on television. Not that he had much choice. IHF chief K P S Gill had categorically stated after the sting that Jothikumaran would be sacked.

"We will remove him. We are now looking to appoint someone as the acting secretary tomorrow itself. Somebody who can stoop to such a level and disgrace the game need not continue," Gill told TOI after the channel showed the Chennai-based secretary demanding Rs 5 lakh for ensuring the selection of a player in the national team. The team for the Azlan Shah Cup was to be picked on Tuesday, Gill said.

According to the sting transcript, Jothikumaran received cash payment of Rs 2 lakh in a Delhi hotel on April 10 and 11 and was promised that the rest would be delivered to his man in the capital. "A few days after receiving the money, Jothikumaran told us the player's name had been included in the list of probables for Azlan Shah Cup to be sent to the ministry this week," the transcript said.

"Jothikumaran assured us that as far he was concerned the player was in, and it was now just a matter of formality. The special investigation team did not know this player at all. Just to make the entire investigation look real, they used the name of this player as he was part of the recently held camp at Bangalore and was not included in the team for the ongoing tour of Australia," the transcript added.

IHF president KPS gill was non-committal when asked whether IHF would start any probe against the secretary. "They have shown him taking money. What can I say to that? Probes, inquiries are different things. We have to look into the seriousness of the allegations," he said.

The channel also said when its investigative team approached Jothikumaran as a business house that wanted to organize an international tournament, "Jothikumaran asked for Rs 5 lakh in the name of seed money to facilitate the event. Out of this he demanded Rs 3 lakh in cash and the rest in the name of a front company working for him in Delhi," the channel said.

The latest development has come as a fresh blow for a game that's already struggling to stay alive in the country.

Reacting to the expose, former India captain Pargat Singh said it was a shocking revelation. "We have been hearing about it for a long time. This is a shocking thing to have happened. He should be immediately sacked and a criminal case should be lodged against him," he told TOI.

Meanwhile, Jothikumaran told an agency - "I was genuinely under the impression that a proposal for conducting a big tournament on the lines of Azlan Shah tournament was being debated with me by the reporters of the news channel. At no point of time did I raise anything about selection.

"The money they allege that I had taken was in my opinion to meet the initial expenses for organising the event in India on the same lines of Azlan shah tournament."

The Times of India


NEW DELHI, April 22 (Bernama) -- Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) secretary K. Jothikumaran resigned after a television news channel's sting operation allegedly exposed him as accepting money to include a player for the Azlan Shah Cup tournament in May.

Jothikumaran, who had helmed the post for the past 14 years, stepped down late Monday after the channel aired damaging clips of the secretary and its reporters, who disguised as businessmen, negotiating a deal to include the unknown player.

The Times of India reported that the channel had showed the secretary demanding RM40,000 (Rs500,000) to ensure the player would be selected for the national team participating in the Azlan Shah Cup.

It was reported that he had received nearly RM15,000 (Rs200,000) as initial payment at a hotel in Delhi on April 10 and 11, and assured that the player would be included in the line-up for the Kuala Lumpur tournament.

According to the Times report, the local channel's investigative team had also approached Jothikumaran to organise a hockey tournament, similar to Azlan Shah Cup. For that, he had demanded about RM40,000 (Rs500,000) as seed money.

Responding to the scandal, IHF chief K.P.S Gill said Jothikumaran would be sacked and replaced by a new secretary immediately.

"We will remove him. We are now looking to appoint someone as the acting secretary. Somebody who can stoop to such a level and disgrace the game need not continue," he told the Times.

However, Jothikumaran denied all the allegations and said he only accepted the cash to organise an international tournament in India, but the news channel had projected him as corrupt.

The Indian hockey fraternity had been calling for total revamp of IHF after India failed to qualify for the Beijing Olympics in August -- for the first time in 80 years, India failed to qualify for the Olympics men's hockey.

With this latest scandal hitting the headlines in India, Indian hockey is once again in choppy waters.

IHF is expected to announce the final squad for the Azlan Shah Cup today.



There have been several postings in a blog of former Malay Mail journalist Rizal Hashim with regards to the saga of the failure to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Some have even called me to claim that I was the one who wrote to Rizal the initial letter, and to them I say you do not know me at all. Let me make it clear here, and Rizal can vouch for it, I had never posted any comment in his blog, nor am I interested in the subject. It is evident that we tend to wash dirty linen in public when it comes to sports, its so easy to lay blame on others. Be rest assured that I do not want to get involved in this Sarjit saga, as he is my friend and so are those who posted negative comments about him. Why not all of you sit down in a room and trash things out. As for MHF, less said is better as the officials are elected into office and they know what they are doing or have done. Let there be peace please. Lets not get personal if sports is the main agenda. Or is it?

Monday, April 21, 2008


This is what I wrote several months ago and can be read below - THE TRUTH HURTS

Sports is all about fairness, honesty, pride and passion. Fifty years after independence we are deluding ourselevs into giving excuses for failure. All the rhetoric and promises cannot hide the fact that, after 50 years of nationhood, we are still grappling to deal with certain realities. Nothing puts it in better focus than the game which was the very soul of the nation until its decline 20 years ago.

With all the issues being highlighted by the media and bloggers over the past month (since the cabinet was named) , we must all bear collective responsibility on what has transpired over the last three decades or so. From being tops in badminton, hockey and football, we are reduced to mere participants in these fields. Well some opt to ask our sportsmen to follow the footsteps of squash queen Nicol Ann David and lawn bowler Safuan Said, that really should not be a comparison as those sports are hardly played by more than 50 countries worldwide.


Much has been said about the demand made by a national coach to increase his salary to up to 20k per month. While many are opposed to it, I clearly cannot understand why its a non issue when we end up paying much more then that to foreign personnel that we have employed over the years. And there is a national coach of another sport that was promised a certain pay bracket but now is being forced to accept something else. Is that being fair to our local coaches? I agree that some of the demands made are downright ridiculous, and support the statement made by Dato Zolkples Embong the NSC DG, that coaches will have to show results before given pay rises. But was this the case in badminton? Are the salaries being docked for non-performance?

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


The nature of my job did not allow me to have much free time over the past few months. And with a new cabinet in place, exciting times for Malaysian Sports are on the horizon. At times it makes me wonder how people in the sports fraternity are akin to the "indian crabs in a pail" situation. Instead of us helping to improve the scenario, most opt to vent their anger through writing stuff that is a figment of their imagination. I will from time to time share my thoughts, but most may not agree with them. But this is my opinion and to differ is natural for I never claim to be the light at the end of the tunnel....