Increased legal awareness signals improved professionalism, says Selangor's Izhar

As club football in Malaysia progresses, all parties involved need to be more aware of the legal side of the sport, urges Selangor's Izhar Moslim.

BY        ZULHILMI ZAINAL       Follow on Twitter

Selangor vice president Izhar Moslim believes that the recent transfer saga involving wantaway Kedah player Akhyar Rashid, the club and Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) is a teething problem that has been caused by increased professionalism in club football in the country, and that it will improve Malaysian football in the long run.

The teenager recently bought out the one-year remaining in his contract with Kedah to join JDT, but the Red Eagles have objected to the move. After the Malaysian FA (FAM) ruled that Akhyar is allowed to move clubs by compensating his former club RM285,000 (around USD69,145), Kedah announced their intention of taking the case all the way to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), an unprecedented move in Malaysian football.

"This is part of the improving maturity within Malaysian football. There are bound to be gaps here and there; within the FAs, at the MFL (Malaysian competitions organiser Malaysian Football League) level, as well as at the FAM level.

"They (Kedah) have the right to take the case to a higher level, as surely they have confidence in their dispute. It shows that the sport is being run more maturely, and after this everyone will think twice before going about their businesses.

"Teams cannot stop players from moving on if they receive better offers, but we (Selangor) hope that people come and leave on a good note. This aspect may have been overlooked by many teams previously, but hopefully this will be followed by improved maturity and benefits to Malaysian football," he remarked when met by Goal on Wednesday.

He also added that the dispute is also an unexpected side effect of the good work put in by the MFL to improve the standards of club football in the country.

"MFL has raised the game. They're very, very professional now and they constantly engage with the clubs. Two weeks earlier there was a discussion between Selangor and MFL, and we were very impressed with their staff; it was very refreshing to see. And they in turn have galvanised the clubs by this level of professionalism.

"But these improvements have also caused an increase in the occurrences of issues. When you start from a low base, there are things you cannot cover as you progress further; there are likely to be certain aspects that will be missed out on by the parties involved. And this is where the service of an attorney must come in," he explained.

The Red Giants board too has seen a closer engagement with lawyers, according to Izhar, in their recent internal dispute which resulted in the sacking of 43 of their affiliate members.

"From day one of our involvement, we've been engaging a panel of lawyers to provide input on various matters and responsibilities. Before we proceeded with the expulsions, we sat down with the legal team in order to ensure that everything would be done according to our statute and best practices, and that we covered all the bases and potential loopholes," noted Izhar.

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