The FA of Malaysia (FAM) will no longer tolerate late payment of players' salaries and has threatened errant state FAs and clubs a "three strikes and you're out" approach in a bid to combat the bribery menace affecting the sport.
Late wages is one reason players end up in the clutches of bookies and FAM deputy president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah hopes by taking tough action against teams, the problem will be a thing of the past.
"Late payment of salaries has been identified as the root problem in weakness of administration. Players must be paid promptly and in line with their responsibilities.
"Teams must act responsibly as employers. They will be given two warnings and if it happens a third time, the team concerned will be suspended and all fixtures involving the team during that period will be awarded to their opponents with a 3-0 score.
"This will be incorporated into the rules of the competition," said Tengku Abdullah after chairing an executive committee meeting in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
The task of monitoring all 26 teams in the Super League and Premier League pay wages by the seventh of the following month has been given to FAM deputy general secretary Kelly Sathiaraj.
Kuala Lumpur, Perlis and Johor were among the teams which were tardy in paying salaries last year though no complaints have been received this season although only one month has passed.
In a separate development, the third-tier FAM League can only be held this year if there are eight teams competing, said FAM competitions committee chairman Datuk Hamidin Amin.
So far, nine teams, including Malacca and Penang, have registered to compete but the scheduled Feb 1 start of the league was postponed indefinitely after two teams failed to pay players' insurance.
"We are hopeful the league can start soon with eight teams as one of the teams are close to making the insurance payment. But we will not hold the league unless we have eight teams," said Hamidin.