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Winds of change in Football Association of Malaysia?

Archive photo of PFSLJ

Zulhilmi Zainal

High-ranking Football Association of Malaysia exco member reported to be seen in an off-the-record meeting with PFSLJ

After being criticised for putting a bigger priority on pointless exhibition matches against European clubs and a string of defeats, the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) has surprisingly made a few changes in their approach these past few weeks.

They have arranged for more international friendly matches, and tentatively promised to stop playing exhibition matches against club sides.

Even the newly-appointed Secretary-general, Hamidin Amin finally admitted his disappointment with the national head coach K. Rajagopal's poor performance.

In addition to what have been made public, our sources reveal that a newly high-ranking FAM executive member had been seen meeting unofficially with representatives of the dissenting fan movement Presiden FAM Sila Letak Jawatan (PFSLJ) in Shah Alam almost two weeks ago. 

The group had earlier been established with the intention of pressuring the current FAM president; Sultan Ahmad Shah into stepping down from his position, as he is seen by them as the main cause of the decline of Malaysian football.

Amidst the recent criticisms directed towards Rajagopal for the national squad's poor outings, PFSLJ has again repeated their call, stating that the national coach is only part of the problem, with the other reason being the President's draconian, ineffective and direction-less administration, after occupying the post for almost 30 years.

In the meeting, the PFSLJ representatives outlined their main points in asking for the president's resignation.

According to the source, although the FAM member stopped short of agreeing or endorsing the group, he did suggest a few ways for the group's cause to gain ground, with one being trying to gain more traction by allying themselves with fan clubs from the whole country, in order to be more vocal and gain more attention.

The inner-workings of football administration in Malaysia is murky and beset with factions, on its best days, thus the true intention of the FAM official might not see the light the day.

However, for a FAM higher up to agree to sit down with one of their biggest critics, albeit in an unofficial capacity, perhaps hints at changes in the way FAM is going to be run in the future.

The long-suffering Malaysian fans can only hope so.

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