The match between Selangor and Malaysian Super League (MSL) leaders LionsXII at the Shah Alam on April 27th finished as a goalless draw, but what happened off the pitch was apparently more of an interesting talking point for fans. A few hours before the kick off, the LionsXII squad were accosted by a number of Selangor fans while they were entering the bus that was to transport them to the stadium. In a footage of the incident that was obtained by us, one of the vocally prominent fans was seen, and also heard, warning the team and coach V. Sundamoorthy against getting involved in match-fixing.
After the match, a brief scuffle reportedly broke out in the compounds of the stadium between the two sets of fans. The next day, a number of publications reported that the two incidents were related and linked to several Selangor fan clubs.
Over a week has passed, and the fan in question has approached Goal.com Malaysia with the intention of clarifying his intentions and also to vindicate the Selangor fan clubs, and himself, who have been wrongfully linked to the incident in the news reports. In the online interview, the fan, Alfadli Awaludin, 31, explained that LionsXII and Singapore fans are being cheated by the football administrators in their country as much as the fans in Malaysia are being lied to by their Malaysian counterparts. Here is an excerpt from the interview:
GOAL: Why did you to decide to confront the LionsXII squad?
ALFADLI: I did it to let them know that we in Malaysia are aware that their wins in the league have been through match-fixing, or at least, dubious circumstances. We in Malaysia are also aware of Singapore's reputation as the match-fixing capital of the football world. The message that I wanted to send was: "We are onto you". That sort of thing needs to be left behind in the S-League, and this includes football betting, which is illegal in Malaysia. We the fans in Malaysia will fight the scourge of match-fixing by any means necessary. I wasn't there to simply hurl mindless insults and provocation.
G: Do you have any evidence to back up this allegation?
A: Nothing black and white, of course. But I have credible information from inside sources that matches involving the Singaporean club have been disrupted by match-fixing, to their benefit.
G: Were any other organisations involved in that day's confrontation?
A: No, it was just me and some other friends who came as individuals, and not as representatives of any other groups or entities. I read in an earlier report by Goal.com (Singapore) that the Selangor Ultras were also invovled, which is total nonsense. They were not.
G: There were also other reports that claimed that you were also threatening the LionsXII fans who were present near the team transport at that time, and that a scuffle that broke out between Selangor and the visiting fans after the match were linked to you. Are these allegations true?
A: Definitely not. I came with the intention of giving a verbal warning to the team. I had no intention of getting their fans involved and I stayed out of their way. There was police escort at the time. If what I was doing was deemed threatening and illegal, the trigger-happy Malaysian police would have been onto me like little children to a pinata at a birthday party.
The scuffle that took place after the match also did not have anything to do with me. Physical violence is not part of my method.
G: Our research has revealed that your name is also linked with the dissenting movement 'Presiden FAM Sila Letak Jawatan' (PFSLJ). Is there a connection between LionsXII and the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) in this matter?
A: I'm glad that you're asking about this. This is what the Singaporean fans who might have been offended by my allegations should pay attention to. The million dollar question is: Why is the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) so interested in entering a team that is composed of mostly their national players, in the MSL? Even if they win all the cups and competitions in the league, it does not guarantee them a spot in the Asian Cup, much less in the World Cup. LionsXII aren't even eligible for the Asian club competition, the AFC Cup. It will not improve the Singapore national team's FIFA ranking, nor will it improve the grade of the S-League.
If it is for exposure and development, then why does the team feature a lot of senior players instead of their junior counterparts? Why are Shahril Ishak and Baihakki Khaizan not allowed to play for Bangkok Glass in the more competitive and higher-ranked Thai Premier League? Thai clubs are eligible for qualification to the Asian Champions League, so is that not better than competing in the MSL, with no hopes of AFC Cup qualification, if it is truly for the development of Singaporean football?
All this points to the issue that LionsXII are being used by certain individuals in both FAS and the Football Association of Malaysia to achieve shallow and meaningless glory for their private financial gains, at the cost of actual football development and progress. Singaporean football fans need to wake up and realise that they are being cheated by their own administrators.
G: Thank you very much for your time, Alfadli.
A: Thank you, too. For further information, I can be reached at my Twitter page.
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