BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
The Selangor board has issued a statement defending its imminent plan to take over fellow Super League side PKNS FC and restructure it as its developmental team.
Club secretary-general Johan Kamal Hamidon two weeks ago confirmed to the media that the plan will go ahead, and while it has drawn support from observers, there are members of the Malaysian football fraternity who disagree with it too, such as Malaysian legend Santokh Singh, who had featured for both sides during his playing days.
In the press statement that was issued on Tuesday, the Red Giants denied that they were simply pushing for the takeover in order to secure a bigger share of the annual football funding granted by the Selangor state government.
"We believe that if this consolidation happens, we have a huge responsibility not just to deliver results, but also build a strong platform for youth players to excel and succeed in becoming top Malaysian talents. This isn't about FAS alone, it is about revamping the football landscape in the state to ensure a higher chances of success in the future.
"...It is estimated that RM44 million is spent by three football teams in Selangor for 2019 season (Selangor, PKNS and Selangor United). This is much higher than many other teams in the Malaysian Super League. However, the performances of the three teams have been average. Only Selangor reached top three in the Super League and are now in the semi-finals of the Malaysia Cup competition in just the first year of the president’s (Tengku Amir Sultan Sharafuddin) leadership. Instead of spreading the funding thinly over 3 teams, it is financially responsible for the State Government in wanting to consolidate and fund only one team, with a significantly reduced amount.
"It is estimated that almost RM16 million can be saved from the consolidation. If we assume that half of the amount is government funding (and the rest from corporate sponsorships), a total of RM8 million of the government’s fund can be saved from the move. This amount can be channelled instead to fund education, healthcare programmes and add to the development expenditure which will benefit hundreds if not thousands of more people."
The club board also explained that the role of development will be better undertaken once PKNS are under its wing to compete as Selangor's developmental team in the Premier League.
"Currently there are various uncoordinated efforts in football development. The pathway for youths to become professional footballers is unclear. With this consolidation effort, it will improve the coordination and structure of football grassroots development to create clearer pathways towards professionalism. The grassroots activities that PKNS has done significantly well can continue to happen and with closer collaboration with Selangor and the state government, a better reach to all nine districts of the state will be enabled to find the next stars of Malaysian
"... After many months of analyzing data, we found that there is a huge gap between these two teams. Not many of the Presiden U21 players can cope at the highest level of Malaysian football, and many will tend to drop off and do not progress. The feeder team team will enable us to bridge this gap, whereby President's Cup (U-21) players can be exposed to more competitive matches at the Premier League level. We had contemplated creating an entirely new team as a feeder team. However, MFL (competitions organiser Malaysian Football League) ruling means this team needs to start playing at M3/M4 levels. Starting from the bottom isn't wrong, however it would have meant potentially losing three to four years and jeopardising the development of our U-21 and U-19 players. Our efforts to turn around football in Selangor is not short sighted, therefore this feeder team initiative will assist to bring back Selangor’s glory days in the long run."
Meanwhile, Goal's source at the club has indicated that MFL has given the clearance for the takeover to happen, and they are currently waiting for PKNS officials to furnish the necessary documents.
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