The Australian international was looking forward to playing with the East Malaysian side but was blocked by a rule that prevents signing of lower-league foreign players
By Peter Davis
Former Australia international and Chinese Super League (CSL) winner Ryan Griffiths had been all set for a move to the Malaysian Super League (MSL) with Sarawak when an odd rule on transfers blocked his move.
The MSL has certain rules blocking transfers dependant on the league in which a player last played in. According to this regulation, the fact that Griffiths most recently played for a second-division side in the Asian Football Confederation made him ineligible to play in the MSL.
|Guidelines for Hiring Foreign Players in M-League
Only Foreign Players playing in Division 2 and above are allowed from the Confederations listed below:
Only Foreign Players playing in Division 1 are allowed from the Confederations listed below:
“It’s a stupid rule," Griffiths, who recently signed for A-League side Adelaide United, told Goal. "It’s jeopardised my move to Malaysia. I could have signed with another Chinese Super League club, but I liked Sarawak and the club was great."
Sarawak famously dominated on their way to promotion in 2013 with 18 wins, four draws and no losses to see them safely qualifying for the top tier in Malaysia.
“The league would definitely suit me; I’ve looked at some of the foreign players in the past and there are very few significant players besides my brother [Joel] of course."
“Joel is going to play in the China League One this year, which means he won’t be allowed to play in Malaysia either if he wanted to,” he added.
Griffiths finished the 2013 campaign with nine goals, helping Baxy finish an impressive seventh following near-relegation in 2012. Yet despite the impressive financial clout of Chinese clubs, the 32-year-old saw greater opportunity in Malaysia.
"I had options in the CSL and still do but seriously, I refused double the offer that I accepted from Sarawak," he continued.
“You [should] look at a player’s pedigree and what he has done in the past. When he's played at an international level and in the highest level in Asia, it doesn’t make sense."
Take a look at a few other signings the MSL would not permit.
Beijing-based Peter Davis has followed Chinese football since 2008 and is a regular contributor to Wild East Football.