It sure seemed like a large chunk of local football fans rejoiced on the 25th of March 2017 as Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim was sworn in as Football Association of Malaysia (FAM)’s new president.
We basked in joy at promises of a corruption-free FAM, and the vision of Malaysian football transforming and making leaps of progress.
However, things are not that easy, as Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim has discovered.
The Johor Crown Prince has been pelted with numerous accusations since he took over the office and he is clearly frustrated by them.
Early in April, the FAM president received backlash after Kedah’s head coach tendered his resignation after being earmarked for position of assistant head coach for the national football team.
Now, he is under fire for the referees’ decision in the matches, being accused for favouritism for his home team, Johor Darul Ta’zim.
“Just that I want to ask some questions, when Perak got a penalty in the final minutes against T-Team, was it my fault? JDT got a penalty, my fault? Because I’m the President and a Johorean? Selangor also got penalty against Pahang, was it my fault? Kedah got a red card because their player hit a T-Team player, was it my fault? Liridon got injured, was it my fault?” a vexed TMJ expressed on Facebook.
He went on to remind local fans that Johor Darul Ta’zim was already winning matches and trophies long before he became FAM president.
“If there are people who want to raise issues about refereeing decisions, then FAM can play videos and the fans can be the judge.” the Crown Prince assured the fans.
“If there are still fans who are unhappy with me being the FAM president, you can urge your affiliates to hold a congress and appoint a new president.”
Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim further elaborated that he became FAM president to help the national team, to improve the quality of the local league, and to eradicate corruption. However, all his efforts are being met with severe criticism.
“If the Malaysian football fans think that I’m not the right person to be the President, I can step down. No problem.” TMJ ended his statement.
Apart from that, TMJ assures local football fans that he has already instructed FAM, the integrity committee and the Football Referees Association to investigate referees and poorly officiated matches and to settle the matter immediately.