BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Veteran player and Professional Footballers Association of Malaysia (PFAM) president Hairuddin Omar has criticised Football Malaysia Limited Liability Partnership (FMLLP) for its alleged reluctance to address players' wage-related issues in its push for privatisation in Malaysian domestic football.
The ATM midfielder, better known as Hai-O to fans, wrote in a statement published by PFAM on its website: "I personally see no concrete efforts being undertaken by FMLLP to ensure that player salary issues do not recur."
He stated that although he understands that FMLLP's scope of task may only be to supervise the league, recurring issues with salary payment, which he described as "the core of our football scene," will scuttle the privatisation initiative undertaken by FMLLP.
"Salary, players and football are a very significantly symbiotic chain in the modern football. When these (salary payment issues) are not checked, it is akin to having a house with fragile pillars, that we cover by simply painting the exterior without solving the major problems of the home," explained the 36-year-old former Malaysia international.
He claimed that despite the players having waited expectantly for the changes brought about by FMLLP, what they were expecting failed to materialise in FMLLP's recently-announced plan for Malaysian football.
To combat this, Hairuddin made a few suggestions. Among them are for the salaries to be deducted directly from team grants and winning prizes, for points to be deducted from teams experiencing payment issues, and a ruling that requires teams to settle all their late salary payments before the start of every new season.
On top of these, he also called for financial sustainability on the competing teams' part, by making long-term investments, operating according to their budgets, and requiring teams' wage bills to be no bigger than 60 per cent of their total spending.
He however ended his statement by offering PFAM's cooperation: "PFAM is very eager to work together with FMLLP in finding an effective cure to this malaise."