A group of fans held a press conference calling for a FAM leadership revamp in Bukit Jalil yesterday, just before submitting their petition to the association.A group of supporters are demanding for the FAM leadership to be revamped, claiming that they are partially to be blamed for not continuously fighting for the growth of Malaysian football. The Malayan Tigers were recently knocked out of the AFF Suzuki Cup and head coach Datuk K. Rajagopal has been made a scapegoat for the defeat.
Nonetheless, the group, known as Presiden FAM Sila Letak Jawatan (PFSLJ), believes that not all the blame should be placed on the head coach and players, adding that FAM's higher leadership has done nothing to improve the M-League status throughout all these years.
To represent the particular group, a fan named Alfadli Awaluddin stepped up to vent their collective frustration on the lack of efforts made by FAM.
"The recent losses incurred by our national team should not only be blamed on the coach and players. FAM have to take some of the blame as well," he said.
"And this doesn't only involve our recent AFF Suzuki Cup performance, but rather involves the journey of Malaysian football for the past 10-20 years or so."
According to Alfadli, Malaysian football has not showed enough growth when compared to rival nations around Asia. He also claimed that one very fundamental root behind this problem is the absence of a top quality league in the nation.
"For 28 years, we transitioned from an amateur league to a semi-pro league in 1989. And then we moved on to a professional league in 1993. But since then, we have been stuck and graded as a D-league.
"Japan came to learn the tools of the trade from us and their league is currently classified as A-grade. As a result, our league teams are not allowed to participate in the Asian Champions League, not even in the playoffs."
FAM have previously mentioned that Malaysia's low ranking doesn't exactly matter to them as long as they keep on improving by winning competitions. Alfadli then went on to question this principle, while also lamenting on the lack of 'A' class international friendly games.
"So if ranking isn't important, where exactly are we headed towards? What are our basic objectives?
"Smaller footballing nations itself pay so much of attention towards improving their world ranking, because it sets a goal for the national team as a whole.
"I also understand that FIFA releases its calendar four years in advance. This should allow FAM enough time to arrange top quality friendly matches for our national team. But question is, why aren't they doing that?
"Are we satisfied enough with winning the SEA Games and AFF Suzuki Cup?"
This recent protest signals the immense pressure faced by FAM in their bid to take football in Malaysia to the next level. Having won the SEA Games twice and AFF Suzuki Cup once in recent years, the Malayan Tigers must look towards a bigger scale now, which is perhaps the upcoming Asian Cup Qualifiers.