Earlier in the week, Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) and Malaysian Football League (MFL) called for teams to be proactive in finding a common ground between them and the players/officials during these troubled times where the professional game is affected by the Covid-19 outbreak.
But the notion that teams could look to pay less or not pay their players is not something that is sitting down well with the Professional Footballers Association of Malaysia (PFAM), who came out with a strong statement reminding teams of their commitment to the players despite the current situation.
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The statement released by FAM that was signed off by Safee Sali, Farizal Marlias, Shahrul Saad, Shahrom Kalam, Khairul Fahmi, Razman Roslan, Zaquan Adha and S. Subramaniam provided a strong retort that the salaries of the player shouldn't be the sacrificed in order for teams to remain in the black.
"The Covid-19 pandemic is a situation that is completely out of our expectations. The Movement Control Order (MCO), it is a big impact to us citizens as a whole as well as the domestic football, which is currently facing a postponement without knowing when it can return.
"Respectfully, we would like to offer a different standpoint in a response to the joint statement issued by FAM and MFL that asked all parties to adopt a compromise in order to protect the financial health of clubs. We believe that contracts must be respected and followed as per agreed, especially when it comes to salary payment.
"As professional footballers, we are also affected by what is happening. Even with the MCO in effect, we still have out commitments and the fact remains that there are increment of cost in our daily lives. We must remember that not all players have big salaries, therefore the need for those salaries is vital at this point in time.
"Some are forced to spend more to take care of their household while others also have to take on the burden of other family members who have gone without income during this MCO, on top of other personal matters. Then we included those players that who have yet to receive their salaries even when the league was still on-going.
"As people are well aware, the teams who have given out hints on potential pay cuts are among those who have salary arrears issue. We are shocked when it came to light that the players from Kelantan's 2019 President Cup and Youth Cup squads have not got their salaries. There's also the matter of Melaka being docked points because of failure complete payments.
"What will happen to these players and the continuity of their lives? Without wanting to induce polemic between teams and the players, we respectfully urge all teams to fullfil their responsibilities as employers. The issue of pay cuts or deferment of payment should not be raised up at this point in time.
"We are saddened that despite all the efforts we put in for the team playing with our hearts out, risking injuries that could end our career, following all orders and obligations in the contract - but at the same time face with threats like these where teams see us a liabilities. It is not fair that players are made 'victims' in order for teams to survive financially.
"We are united in our stand that we do agree with any plans for pay cuts and must stress that the contract be observed dilligently. We are also hopeful that teams continue the salary payment as per the contract and to clear any arrears. We also want to take this opportunity to remind our members to obey the MCO and to maintain your fitness as is stated in your contracts," reads the statement.
The MCO introduced by the Malaysian government initially from 18 March 2020 to 31 March 2020 has been extended to 14 April 2020, with the possibility of further extension if the number of affected isn't showing any signs of slowing down. All of which direclty affects any plans for the league continuation.
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