NEW FA of Malaysia (FAM) pres­i­dent Tunku Is­mail Sul­tan Ibrahim took cen­trestage fol­low­ing the as­so­ci­a­tion’s an­nual congress yes­ter­day. TIMESPORT de­tails Tunku Is­mail’s re­sponses to ques­tions over what steps he plans to take next

New Straits Times - - Front Page -

Ques­tion: What is your short­term goal as FAM pres­i­dent? An­swer: From to­day I will check FAM’s bud­get, to study it and see how much money we have. The pri­or­ity is to take care of the bud­get and I’m go­ing to be very trans­par­ent and where we are go­ing to channel it to.

Next is to fix the na­tional team as much as I can, in terms of ap­point­ment of coaches, se­lec­tion of play­ers, train­ing meth­ods, ide­ol­ogy and play­ing phi­los­o­phy.

Thirdly, I want to im­prove qual­ity of ref­er­ees in the coun­try and we have to not only im­ple­ment cer­tain meth­ods like get­ting ad­vance tech­nol­ogy but also to get a pro­fes­sional sys­tem from abroad to ed­u­cate our ref­er­ees and raise the level of ref­er­ee­ing.

Fourthly is to re­duce FAM staff be­cause I only want those who can con­trib­ute to the or­gan­i­sa­tion and, as my re­spon­si­bil­ity is to safe­guard the fi­nance of FAM.

These are the first four im­me­di­ate ac­tion plan and then we have other plans in terms of de­vel­op­ment and ev­ery­thing else.

Ques­tion: What do you think of the line up of the new ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee?

An­swer: The first thing I want to do is to tell ev­ery­body that they have to fol­low my mo­men­tum and pace be­cause I like to do things very fast. I’m very de­ter­mined and I’m a young man and I like to get things done.

Those who are in po­si­tion now will have to fol­low the mo­men­tum and do their job. I will be watch­ing them very closely. But I’m not wor­ried about that be­cause I will put mostly my peo­ple in place every­where whether it is the dis­ci­plinary com­mit­tee , trea­surer and in­tegrity com­mit­tee.

Ques­tion: When are these peo­ple ex­pected to be in place? An­swer: By tomorrow. I don’t waste time and I will give their names to the gen­eral sec­re­tary and then we have to start putting ev­ery­thing into place.

Ques­tion: When can a de­ci­sion con­cern­ing the na­tional team be ex­pected?

An­swer: If you want, by to­day. I al­ready have Mario Gomez in place to re­place Ong Kim Swee, who will go to the na­tional Un­der23 team. Gomez will have his as­sis­tants and I will al­low him the free­dom to choose but I will mon­i­tor his per­for­mance. If there is an im­prove­ment in the level of play, he can stay. If not up to the mark, then we have to change.

Ques­tion: When will Mario Gomez start work? An­swer: This week. It is con­firmed, the exco will agree with me.

Ques­tion: What is to hap­pen to FM­LLP (Foot­ball Malaysia Lim­ited Li­a­bil­ity Part­ner­ship)?

An­swer: (Talks about Na­tional Foot­ball De­vel­op­ment Pro­gramme) Re­cently, the sport min­is­ter (Khairy Ja­malud­din) said he wants to work closely with me and I still think the bud­get for (NFDP) should re­ally go to FAM. I be­lieve if he re­ally wants to help and con­trib­ute, the ones who need to be re­spon­si­ble for de­vel­op­ment should be the af­fil­i­ates and clubs.

There­fore, if the af­fil­i­ates and clubs don’t have de­vel­op­ment pro­grammes of their own then they will have se­ri­ous reper­cus­sions with me. I need to have peo­ple who are work­ing to­wards the di­rec­tion we are go­ing and what the fans in the coun­try de­mand.

They de­mand to see im­prove­ments in the struc­ture and the sys­tem, there­fore I feel the bud­get should be given to FAM and each af­fil­i­ate and club par­tic­i­pat­ing so that they can run their own youth de­vel­op­ment pro­gramme with the as­sis­tance of the coaches in NFDP. That is my opin­ion but we haven’t dis­cuss about that in de­tail yet.

Ques­tion: What about FM­LLP then? What is the fu­ture for the M-League or­gan­is­ers? An­swer: With FM­LLP, I will be the chair­man of the board and I will check what is their in­ten­tion and what they can do to im­prove. But I am go­ing to be very blunt and hon­est and trans­par­ent.

Ques­tion: Why is FAM sack­ing Frank Bern­hardt when the Sea Games is just months away?

An­swer: I think that for now I need to have a dif­fer­ent team and I don’t see that we can work to­gether. He has a dif­fer­ent ide­ol­ogy and a dif­fer­ent way of deal­ing with things. I have dif­fer­ent way of work­ing. Since I’ve been put here as pres­i­dent, I think ev­ery­body has to re­spect my de­ci­sion and what I am go­ing to do.

There­fore, give me the space to im­prove the na­tional team in a short pe­riod of time. I will meet with Bern­hardt and dis­cuss with him to see what we can come up with but for now this is my im­me­di­ate plan.

Ques­tion: What about teams who fail to pay play­ers on time?

An­swer: They have to be se­ri­ous and they know that if they de­lay pay­ment then they shouldn’t be there. I think there should be oth­ers to do their job. When a team can’t pay salaries it is clearly a sign of mis­man­age­ment of funds.

Ques­tion: What is your plan for the im­prove­ment of the na­tional sys­tem go­ing for­ward?

An­swer: The first thing you need to do when it comes to the na­tional sys­tem is that ev­ery­body needs to un­der­stand that Thai­land im­proved be­cause they did things the right way.

Money was chan­nelled in the right way in terms of broad­cast­ing rights to the teams. They also have an ed­u­ca­tional pro­gramme for peo­ple run­ning foot­ball clubs and give pri­or­ity to youth de­vel­op­ment which is not done here. Here the pri­or­ity is to buy for­eign play­ers be­cause they only have short-term plans to play in the league.

I’m go­ing to keep the af­fil­i­ates close to me, to work with me, case-study on what we have to do with bud­gets.

I’m also try­ing to get Men­teris Be­sar and Chief Min­is­ters trans­fer train­ing grounds to par­tic­i­pat­ing teams to main­tain. The thing now is that teams have to fo­cus on youth de­vel­op­ment , up­grad­ing of fa­cil­i­ties and im­ple­ment of pro­fes­sion­al­ism.

The big­gest prob­lem now is none do that, ex­cept for Jo­hor Darul Ta’zim.

Ques­tion: Will you re­tain Datuk Hamidin Amin as gen­eral sec­re­tary?

An­swer: Many peo­ple have asked me that. The one who does the work is the pres­i­dent. The one who must en­sure ev­ery­one do their work is the pres­i­dent. For now, Datuk Hamidin re­mains as the gen­eral sec­re­tary and if he does not do the work up to my stan­dard, then I’m sorry Datuk Hamidin.

We have that un­der­stand­ing and I think all the exco mem­bers and af­fil­i­ates un­der­stand my goals for FAM but also my prin­ci­ples and poli­cies. I only want those who con­trib­ute to the or­gan­i­sa­tion. Ques­tion: What is the big­gest chal­lenge fac­ing you?

An­swer: The fans. They want us to be in the World Cup as soon as pos­si­ble and win the World Cup. So we will work on that. Look, we have been in a slump for 30 years. We have to be re­al­is­tic about targets. Now there is the Asian Cup qual­i­fiers and they say at least get us to the Asian Cup. I just came in. I don’t think I can. I’m go­ing to be hon­est but I will do my best. I’m not just go­ing to sit here and not do any­thing. I will be with the team, coaches and play­ers and we will give our best shot.

The tar­get is to im­prove the sys­tem so that in the long-term, we will have a good foot­ball na­tion, in terms of or­gan­i­sa­tion, struc­ture and the poli­cies.

Ques­tion: What is the time frame to “clean house”? An­swer: It will take me a cou­ple of weeks, if I work hard enough (laughs). It is not just about im­prov­ing the struc­ture. I have to set the poli­cies, then I have to go on the ground and see where the ac­tual prob­lem is. But I can’t give a par­tic­u­lar guar­an­tee when but it shouldn’t be too long.

Ques­tion: Do you think one term is enough to achieve your targets?

An­swer: I hope so. I hope I can achieve ev­ery­thing in two or three years, or even ear­lier. But what is im­por­tant is that our vision is clear, work hard in that di­rec­tion. I’m blunt and hon­est and the me­dia and fans can ask me any­thing. I don’t have a par­tic­u­lar time frame but we are work­ing in a way to make sure ev­ery­thing can be done as soon as pos­si­ble.

Ques­tion: What is your opin­ion on the newly-elected exco? An­swer: Most of them are peo­ple you have seen be­fore, very fa­mil­iar faces. I have my style of work­ing and they have to adapt to my style and to me. That is very plain and sim­ple.

Tunku Is­mail Sul­tan Ibrahim

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