Football: Slap in the face for FA Malaysia

Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin welcoming Lim Teong Kim (left) to the National Football Development Programme (NFDP) in August this year. Some of the other NFDP committee appointments have been criticised for their lack of football knowledge and experience

Trouble is brewing between the Youth and Sports Ministry and the FA of Malaysia (FAM).

The recent appointment of suspended FAM deputy president Tan Sri Annuar Musa by Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has stirred up another bitter controversy.

Kelantan FA president Annuar, who was banned by the FAM disciplinary committee for breaching Article 88 last year (April 2012 for speaking to the media on policy matters without consent), was surprisingly drafted into the Ministry's National Football Development Programme (NFDP) committee recently.

The NFDP, which was initiated in 2011, is organised and funded by the Youth and Sports Ministry as a way to help Malaysia qualify for the FIFA Under-17 World Cup Finals in 2019.

Khairy, who chairs the committee, roped in Lim Teong Kim - one of the youth coaches with German giants Bayern Munich FC - as the programme's project director. The appointment was well received by all and sundry based on his vast experience with the Bundesliga club.

However, some of the other appointments in the NFDP committee were criticised as they lacked football knowledge.

The new committee members appointed were former Kedah manager Datuk Othman Aziz, former Sports Writer Association Malaysia (SAM) president Abu Bakar Atan, Media Prima Radio Networks chief executive officer Seelan Paul, Universiti Malaya Student Council (MPPUM) president Izham Ismail and former internationals Ahmad Shahrul Azhar Sofian and Bakri Ibni.

It's easy to understand the appointments of Ahmad Shahrul and Bakri, given their footballing background.

How do you explain the other appointments? How on Earth can they be of help to Teong Kim?

What do they know that Teong Kim doesn't? Do they have the credentials - either as a player or a coach - to offer any help?

Were Abu Bakar and Seelan's appointments made with the intention of gaining mileage in the media?

It is obvious that the appointment of Annuar is the main talking point.

It's true that the former Sports Minister has played an instrumental role in Kelantan football's resurgence since taking over the helm five years ago.

The Red Warriors have been a transformed side under the able stewardship of Annuar.

But is his appointment legal? Why the need to appoint him when he is still serving FAM's 30-month ban?

Khairy, who has been critical of FAM since his appointment as Youth and Sports Minister, has showed total disrespect to FAM.

It is not what you would expect of a man like Khairy, who had once served as a deputy president with the national football body.

What is the message he is sending out to the other national associations?

Here is a man appointed to look after the well-being and smooth running of the sports associations. But what does he do? He chooses to defy FAM's ban on Annuar, instead.

It is a known fact that FIFA do not allow governments to interfere in football matters.

So, it will be interesting to see what FIFA will do about Annuar's appointment to the NFDP committee.

Hopefully, common sense will prevail and Khairy and FAM's top brass will be able to resolve their differences amicably.

If FIFA were to butt in, then all the good work being done by everyone will only go down the drain.

Think about that, guys.