The Professional Footballers Association of Malaysia (PFAM) today stressed that its statement regarding certain teams which still owed a total RM6.4 million in wage arrears to players was not a baseless accusation.
This time, members of the PFAM committee issued a statement saying the issues raised by them were done following a period of negotiations, discussions and a series of follow up sessions with the respective teams.
It also dismissed claims by the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) accusing PFAM of making an ‘irresponsible’ statement.
However, PFAM took FAM’s criticism in a positive manner, as evidence that there were still parties concerned about the rights and welfare of footballers in Malaysia.
"We were honestly shocked when FAM secretary-general Stuart Ramalingam (photo, above) criticised us for the statements we made, while he himself had agreed that the issue of wage arrears in Malaysia needs to be resolved.
“In fact, our statement was not addressed to the FAM, nor to the Malaysian Football League (MFL), " said the statement.
Meanwhile, PFAM also provided examples of cases, including that of Pahang and Negeri Sembilan involving former import player Alex de Morais, who was loaned by the Tok Gajah squad to the Hobin Jang Hobin squad when both teams agreed to share the player’s wages.
"In this case, the Negeri Sembilan team made an agreement with the player on Nov 8, 2018, that they will settle all arrears owed to him on June 30, 2019.
"However, the payments were not made by the due date and Negeri Sembilan had assured us the payments would be made by July 31, 2019," he said.
According to PFAM, until last Sunday, Morais had confirmed he had yet to receive the payment as promised, and the Negeri Sembilan team also did not provide any feedback.
"The same happened with Pahang when the player (Morais) informed that he had not received the payment, the Pahang team did not provide any update on the issue and only informed us that they would make a payment this month after our statement was released," it said.
PFAM added the issue did not even take into account the Kelantan's case involving players such as Brendan Gan, Noor Hazrul, Daudsu Jamaludin, Zairul Fitree, Amiridzwan Taj, Badhri Radzi and several others whose wages had been outstanding for almost five years.
"And of course, the ones facing the crunch are former Perlis, Terengganu City FC, Hanelang FC, Kuantan FA and Marcerra United players who continue to be in limbo over their fate," it added.
PFAM also stressed that the issue of wages was the most fundamental, which, if left unresolved, could affect the planned visions of the FAM and MFL.
"We regret that while FAM and MFL are striving to bring the country's football to greater heights through the F:30 and NEX50 blueprints, there are still teams that don’t seem to be ‘in sync' through their actions.
The association also expressed disappointment over Stuart’s threat to review FAM’s cooperation with PFAM and considered it as sending a misleading message regarding efforts to protect the rights of players.
"We also wish to apologise for being ‘narrow-minded’ as stated by him (Stuart), but it is this ‘narrow-mindedness’ that receives calls from players daily, asking if there will be a fight for their plight.
Yesterday, the FAM through Stuart chided PFAM over their statement, describing it as ‘irresponsible’ and ‘unfair’, adding that PFAM chief executive officer Izham Ismail did not clarify the true circumstances faced by some of the teams.