Serious situation: (from left) Khairan swearing on the Quran yesterday, while Datuk Seri Ahmad Said and T-Team manager Rozi Mamat look on. — Bernama
KUALA LUMPUR: The drama within the local football scene lately is not mere hijinks. The severity of the situation is obvious after members of the T-Team swore on the Quran.
“The incident at the Larkin Stadium is a serious issue. When I came to know that (T-Team’s) assistant coach Azlan Johar and player Khairan Ezuan Razali had sworn on the Quran, it elevated the issue to a new level of seriousness. It became something we can’t brush aside,” said Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin yesterday.
Speaking at a press conference after officiating the ISN-UPM Sports Science Governed Sports Leadership Empowerment Series at the National Sports Institute, Khairy explained that from an Islamic perspective, the act of swearing on the Quran is very serious and should not to be taken lightly. He wanted the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) to act fast to investigate the incident based on accounts from all witnesses.
“I will support FAM’s decision as long as it is based on justice and not biased. No one should be given immunity. If there is a strong case, the perpetrator must be held accountable,” said the minister.
He believed that if FAM did not act, their credibility, together with the credibility of Malaysian football, would be in jeopardy.
On Monday, T-Team’s Azlan and Khairan swore on the Quran before Terengganu Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Said, all the players from T-Team, the Terengganu FA and the press, that the Larkin Stadium tunnel fiasco had actually happened.
Commenting on the rising trend of crowd hooliganism, Khairy said there were supporters who were simply passionate but there were also certain groups that had emerged as hooligans, emulating what they saw in foreign leagues.
Khairy had suggested to FAM general secretary Datuk Hamidin Amin that the FAM security committee set up greater safety measures for upcoming games, including working closely with the police and making arrests if necessary.
“We cannot allow our stadiums to be taken over by hooligans. Football in Malaysia is a family sport. We need to stop it now and enforce rules and regulations,” he added.
“Regulations, such as not allowing fans to bring in flares and fireworks, should be enforced across the board. The perpetrators need to be arrested when such incidents occur, regardless of whether it happens within or outside the stadium,” Khairy said.
“One concern here is crowd psychology. It has the same dynamics as demonstrations. A small crowd of hooligans will usually cause others to be influenced and join in. FAM must take this seriously,” he added.