Johor prince calls for Fifa probe into Malaysian football association

Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim (above).
Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim (above).

KUALA LUMPUR • The Crown Prince of Johor has launched another attack on the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM), saying its officials have failed to tackle corruption and are hoarding broadcast revenues from the clubs.

Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, whose Johor Darul Ta'zim are the Malaysian champions and are through to the final of the regional AFC Cup, said yesterday that the FAM is culpable for the country's slide to a worst-ever Fifa ranking of 171 after a record 10-0 loss to the United Arab Emirates last month.

He called on world football's governing body (Fifa) to investigate the association.

"Maybe Fifa should question them or something like that as it is not healthy," the 31-year-old said. "Nobody (at FAM) is interested in moving forward or bringing football to another level but everyone is interested in their own sake and position. Most of the clubs are handled by politicians and they all want to play safe.

"You can see Fifa is in a mess now and that is what has happened in other associations as well."

The crown prince failed in his bid to become FAM president last year, losing out to Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah.

INVESTIGATING FAM

What FAM is doing is basically stealing the money from the club and the world has to know that. It is wrong.''

TUNKU ISMAIL SULTAN IBRAHIM

Tunku Ismail, who said he would not stand again, was invited to be an adviser to Tengku Abdullah but that arrangement lasted only two months after the Johor crown prince 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 himself after the FAM baulked at the cost.

The FAM did not answer calls for comment.

The question of the FAM's finances is a particularly sore point for the outspoken prince, who has overhauled his club with a transparent "fan first" approach since taking on the role in 2012.

He is particularly peeved about the RM1.2 billion (S$397.1 million) 15-year deal that the FAM signed with MP & Silva in January.

"By right, in every league in the world, every club participating should have 90-95 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 RM1 million, while FAM enjoys the chunk of RM47 million.

"It should be given to the club. What FAM is doing is basically stealing the money from the club and the world has to know that. It is wrong."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 20, 2015, with the headline 'Johor prince calls for Fifa probe'. Print Edition | Subscribe