ISKANDAR PUTERI: The crown prince of Johor, Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, officially confirmed on Sunday (Mar 25) his resignation as president of the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM).
He first announced his intent to resign as the head of the Malaysian football governing body on Mar 15 in a Facebook post.
Following his official statement at the Football Malaysia Limited Liability Partnership (FMLLP) congress, he was also officially appointed as chairman of the Malaysia Football League (MHL) which is the new name for FMLLP which is now undergoing a rebranding exercise.
Tunku Ismail, who held the post of FAM president for one year, confirmed he had sent his letter of resignation with immediate effect to FAM secretary-general Hamidin Mohd Amin.
Tunku Ismail explained that he had previously expressed his decision to lead FAM for a year to Hamidin. However, the FAM secretary-general later requested Tunku Ismail to reconsider his decision and to lead FAM for one term instead of one year.
Tunku Ismail said that he has also proposed Hamidin as the new FAM president. In a statement issued by FAM, Tunku Ismail said the long service Hamidin had with the national football governing body made him the most suitable candidate to take the number one position.
According to the crown prince, who is also Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) Club owner, the appointment of Hamidin as FAM president would facilitate cooperation between FAM and the Malaysian Football League in restoring the image of national football in future.
"In my view, the most qualified candidate to lead FAM after this will be FAM secretary-general … Hamidin Mohd Amin who had long served the country's football.
“So if we look at FIFA (International Association Football Federation), presidents came from secretaries-general as they understand the system of football administration. I also have very good relations with him (Hamidin) and it will facilitate cooperation between FAM and the Malaysian Football League,” he said in the statement.
Meanwhile, Tunku Ismail said the revenue of FAM would be assured if Hamidin was selected by affiliated members as the new president.
“If he is chosen as president by affiliated members, I will give my full support to him and ensure the income of FAM is assured. I hope all affiliated members will support him as FAM president,” he added.
The crown prince also suggested FAM deputy president Yusof Mahadi be appointed as acting president until the 64th congress of FAM scheduled in July this year.
Speaking to reporters, Yusof said that the FAM secretariat will be calling for a special meeting in July to discuss the crown prince’s resignation.
FIRST TIME IN HISTORY
Tunku Ismail said after leading FAM for one year, he had brought new structural and system changes into the country’s football governing body. This included holding the regular exco meeting in each state.
“If we look, I have brought in many sponsors in which for the first time in history, each team competing in the Super League received almost RM3 million (US$766,500) as well as RM1 million for each Premier League team. God willing, it will increase.
“If seen from the structural aspect and relations with fans, we have improved and we could see the national U-23, U-19, and U-16 squads are showing excellent performance and have qualified for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup for the first time,” he told reporters after the congress.
Tunku Ismail added that he was always evaluated through the performance of the national team but he did not blame the supporters as many parties saw him as a competitor.
He said: “Many see me not as FAM president but as Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) owner. The strongest team in country and many see me as a competitor and was evaluated as not wise, not clever.”
As such, he said he did not want to waste time serving a small group who are considered “less clever”.
FMLLP chief executive officer, Kevin Ramalingam said the appointment of Tunku Ismail as MFL chairman was effective from this Monday. According to him, the unanimous decision was made by all 24 shareholders of the organisation.
He added that the congress also agreed to make MFL a neutral body and not linked to FAM.
“The selection of Tunku Ismail as chairman of MFL was made based on his position as the owner of JDT and not through a post in FAM.
“All 24 shareholders also agreed to redraft the existing constitution to raise the quality and image of the league and the local football industry,” said Ramalingam.
He added the process of name change and rebranding was expected to be completed in 90 days.