As the issue of the pay cuts rumble on following the guidelines from FIFA released last week and the subsequent measure put in place by Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) together with Malaysian Football League (MFL), one man has stood up to remind his peers on what needs to be done.
HRH Major General Tunku Ismail Ibni Sultan Ibrahim, Crown Prince of Johor (TMJ) has come out with a strong statement to four teams that they must clear the salaries that they are behind on before even initiating discussion on pay cuts, calling it two very distinct matters.
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His club JDT was the first to announce salary reduction in light of the suspension of all football activities in the country due to the escalating situation relating to the Covid-19 in Malaysia. The world's governing body has since released a set of guidelines imploring all clubs to follow a similar solution.
"Most players in the country are ready to cooperate with their respective teams regarding salary reductions due to the Covid-19 pandemic. But before teams make salary cuts, please ensure that clubs which owe players must settle their arrears with the players first.
"It shouldn't be a situation where two or three months of salary is owed but now Covid-19 is being used as an excuse to cut salaries. Teams such as Kedah, Kelantan, Melaka United and Penang must settle their arrears with the players first before making salary deductions due to this pandemic.
"This is not a question of players refusing to cooperate. Instead they are ready to work together. But make sure that all debts with the players are settled first before using Covid-19 as an excuse to cut their salaries. Most teams depend 100% on State Government allocations and it is puzzling that these teams have still not been paid salaries.
"This is akin to not acting in a trustworthy manner. Teams must not burden the state government," said TMJ in his statement.
Having initially voiced their concerns over the potential pay cuts, Professional Footballers Association of Malaysia (PFAM) has since accepted the new guidelines but imposed conditions on it, along the same lines as what was said by TMJ.
Thus it was no surprise that PFAM has welcomed the statement released by TMJ and thank the former FAM president for understanding the plight of what some players are going through having not been paid their full salaries for a few months.
"PFRAM want to extend our gratitude to DYMM Tunku Ismail for the support shown to the players in the issue of contract negotiations that was suggested by FAM and MFL. The statement given by Tunku shows his understanding of the matter as well as his constant effort to support the professional careers of footballers.
"This is a clear signal that the rights and welfare of the players must be respected before any due negotiation process can begin. We would also like to congratulate JDT who has always been committed to take care of the players' rights and has always complied with contractual obligations.
"As such, we are urging teams with salary arrears to quickly settle those debts and accept the two conditions to ensure that the discussion process with the players can be done in a just and fair manners," said PFAM in a statement put out on Monday.
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