BY OOI KIN FAI Follow on Twitter
Foreign referees for matches in Super League, FA Cup and Malaysia Cup? That is one of the plans on the cards to better the standard of refereeing.
Following another shower of criticism on the man in the middle after Johor Darul Ta'zim's (JDT) win over Kelantan on Wednesday night, the President of Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) HRH Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim (TMJ) has called upon Football Malaysia Limited Liability Partnership (FMLLP) to seek help from the Japan Football Association (JFA).
In a statement released on Thursday afternoon, TMJ has asked FMLLP to review the existing agreement with JFA and whether they can provide officials, at least for the big and important matches. Given the current financial predicament faced by FAM, while JFA might be able to help, the cost of such arrangement could prove to be a stumbling block.
In the match between JDT and Kelantan, the former were awarded a penalty decision that Zahasmi Ismail later described as a wrong call and thus affected his players for the remainder of the match. The penalty came when the Red Warriors was still leading 2-1, JDT scored the ensuing spot kick and eventually went on to win 2-3.
Another Super League match last weekend also attracted controversy after T-Team claimed that they were unfairly treated in their 2-2 draw again Perak. The officials of T-Team were left unhappy after a late penalty decision helped Perak to secure a late equaliser.
While the news that Video Assistant Referees (VAR) will start to be used in the 2018 season is a welcomed one, there's still a large chunk of the current 2017 season to go and the consistency of high level refereeing standard needs to be achieved in order to avoid controversies.
One thing's sure, the system of qualification for a referee to be able to officiate competitive matches will need to be looked at and ensure that only referees that meet the required standard are allow to be tasked with match duties.