Saturday, 27 August 2011

Kuala Lumpur might not sign foreign players due to financial problems

The Kuala Lumpur FA (KLFA) may not hire foreign players next season due to financial constraints.

KLFA president Datuk Astaman Abdul Aziz said it would be tough for them to meet the extra costs of hiring the imports and managing the Super League team with a RM3mil budget.

“We may not hire foreign players unless we get a positive feedback from other sponsors,” Astaman said at a press conference here yesterday.

He said they were still negotiating with a few sponsors to help fund their operational costs for the Malay­sian Super League (MSL) and the KLFA Academy in Taman Melati, Hulu Kelang, which is expected to open in January.

The City team, under head coach Razip Ismail, are expected to feature an all-local line-up despite the FA of Malaysia’s (FAM) decision to lift the ban on foreign imports next season.

Each team will be allowed to have only two foreign players. Those hired from the Asean region must be national players while those from the Asia and Oceania regions must be from Division One clubs. Those from other continents will have to be playing for at least Division Two clubs.

Team manager Nokman Mustaffa said that the players were in high spi­rits ahead of the Malaysia Cup competition next month after receiving their two-month backpay yesterday.

“We are optimistic of making the cut for the quarter-finals. We have a young team with no star players. But we are capable of going through,” warned Nokman.

KL, three-time champions, are drawn in Group D with Selangor, T-Team and Police for the Malaysia Cup competition.

Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Minister Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin, who is the KLFA patron, handed over a cheque for RM350,000 from sponsors KL City Hall to the team management yesterday.

Astaman said the RM350,000, which is part of the annual grant from KL City Hall, was a timely boost for the team and officials ahead of the Hari Raya celebrations.

KL City Hall’s annual grant is RM600,000 while the subsidy from the FAM is RM300,000.

“We are working on getting long-term financial partners to fully manage the KLFA Academy, which will follow the training module of (English Premier League giants) Liverpool. We hope to tie up with Liverpool FC in November,” said Astaman.

The KLFA Academy comes with a hostel and can accommodate 50 boys (ages 14-17). The other facilities include a futsal court and a training ground.

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