Saturday, 14 January 2012

Registration of foreign players in M-League extended to February 13

Terengganu's persistence paid off as the FA of Malaysia (FAM) caved in to their demands and extended the registration of foreign players in the M-League to Feb 13, a move which will benefit all teams. 

While attempting to put on a brave front in explaining the decision, FAM vice-president Datuk Hamidin Amin and general secretary Datuk Azzuddin Ahmad both insisted the move was intended to benefit Malaysian football in general rather than pressure exerted by any party.

But the fact of the matter is, had Terengganu not kicked up such a fuss over the registration of their two new imports, FAM would not have been forced into this about-turn.

All teams can now source for new foreign players, even those who would like to replace imports signed earlier, before the new deadline.

"In the interest of national football, and without reference to pressure from anyone, we have decided to extend the registration deadline for foreign players to Feb 13.

"However, these players are still subject to the same regulations governing foreign players as set out in the guidelines we have distributed before the Dec 8 (original) deadline.

"These players must also be approved by the vetting committee before they are allowed to play," said Hamidin, after chairing an emergency competitions committee meeting at Wisma FAM yesterday.

Teams, however, can only sign free-agent foreign players, said Hamidin, meaning that they must be free of contract as at Dec 8, a condition imposed by Fifa in order to extend the transfer period.

Terengganu are now free to register Liberian striker Francis Doe Forkey and Brazilian midfielder Erison Da Silva Silva Santos though today's  game against Felda United has come too soon for them to see action.

The vetting, monitoring and transparency committee, chaired by Tan Sri Aseh Che Mat, will meet weekly to speed up the verification process but Azzuddin stressed that this is a one-off concession to state affiliates and clubs,  saying that the new transfer matching system (TMS) to register imports as reason for causing confusion.

"It has been three years since foreign players   played here and some were not familiar with the TMS that was introduced which caused some problems.

"I hope teams do not leave things to the last minute again and if there are matters that are unclear, they should contact the secretariat for explanation.

"A number of teams have appealed to register new players and so it is only fair that we accommodate and oblige them for the good of football," said Azzuddin.

The threat by Terengganu Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Said to withdraw Terengganu and T-Team from the Super League was not discussed, said Hamidin, while Azzzudin said the state FAs and clubs must adopt a professional attitude when it comes to dealing with players.

"The attitude and mentality of management must change. Do not think that the culture of accommodating the wishes of affiliates will  continue.

"We have been professional in dealing with them and I hope they don't come on Feb 13 in a rush to register players," said Azzuddin.

Among teams expected to benefit from the extension  are  Johor FC, PKNS, Felda United, Kuala Lumpur, Johor and Pahang.

The Charity Shield raked in RM346,000 in gate collection with FAM giving Negri Sembilan and Kelantan RM50,000 each to distribute to charity  foundations.

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