BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
The world football governing body, Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) on Thursday instructed that Premier League side Kelantan be docked three points for failing to pay a former staff-member's wage.
FIFA issued the instruction through the Malaysian FA (FAM), after the Red Warriors failed to pay former technical director Alfredo Carlos Gonzalez's wage.
On the FAM website, the association listed the chronology of the pay dispute between the Uruguayan and Kelantan. He had been appointed to the post in late April 2017 by then Kelantan president Tan Sri Annuar Musa, but his tenure reportedly only lasted two months.
On 6 March 2019, FIFA ordered the Red Warriors to pay Gonzalez RM235,686 in total within 30 days, a sum that included the wage claim, FIFA penalties and legal costs.
Kelantan only responded almost a month later, on 3 April 2019, and even then only to request for a 30-day extension, supposedly due to the dispute between the association and the company appointed to manage and secure their finances, Kelantan Red Warriors Sdn Bhd (KRW). (On April 5, KRW terminated its agreement with Kelantan)
The FIFA National Dispute Resolution Chamber (NDRC) however is not known to be as permissive as Malaysian administrators, and on April 10 it instructed FAM to deduct three points from Kelantan's current league campaign.
And in FAM's statement, it added that despite the deduction, the Red Warriors are still required to settle the Uruguayan's wage or they will be subjected to further sanctions.
The points deduction will see them going down to four points, and dropping down to 10th place, just one place above the relegation spot.
The past month has not been kind to the former Malaysian champions. Perhaps due to their financial dispute with KRW, head coach Marko Kraljevic and forward Raul Tarragona have recently left the Kota Bharu-based outfit. And now, their bid to obtain a quick return to the top tier has been scuppered by the recent FIFA ruling.
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