Saturday, 1 February 2014 | MYT 8:18 PM
FAM admit poor refereeing standards
A file picture of a referee brandishing a card to a player during an M-League match. Referees in Malaysia have come under heavy scrutiny of late due to questionable decisions.
PETALING JAYA: The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) referees committee have continuously strived to improve the quality of refereeing in the M-League.
Committee chairman Datuk Astaman Abdul Aziz, while admitting that “every referee has his flaws and limitations”, said they had always dealt strictly against those who performed poorly.
He disclosed that 21 match officials were suspended or demoted last year following negative reports by the match assessors.
“Last season, we received five official complaints ... but only two were substantiated and we took swift action against the officials,” said Astaman, who is also the Kuala Lumpur FA president, on Saturday.
“It is important that we continue to improve the quality or the talents that we have and that’s why we have lined up several refresher courses for the referees.
“We have also launched the Gemilang project, which is aimed at having a Malaysian officiate at the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
“We’re always trying to improve the standard of our referees.
“We are trying our best to improve but the are limitations ... the referees here are volunteers.”
His comments come in the wake of the men-in-black coming under fire of late for the poor quality of refereeing.
None has been more vocal than these two coaches – Sime Darby FC’s Ismail Zakaria and Armed Forces’ B. Sathianathan. The duo may be hauled up by the FAM disciplinary committee for criticising the referees after their teams’ recent Super League defeats.
Astaman revealed that there are about 150 referees available for the M-League. This number, he said, is sufficient for the M-League but what concerns him is the quality of the referees.
Last year, FAM mulled the introduction of professional full-time referees for the M-League but the high cost involved put paid to the plan.
Match officials in Malaysia are all part-timers. They are mostly either teachers or from the police, army and the private sector.
It is learned that about RM5mil was spent on referees’ allowances last season.
One way which Astaman feels can help improve the standard of refereeing is through better communication between the match officials.
He said that the use of wireless communication sets would reduce the number of mistakes committed by referees during matches.
“We have contacted a company from France to buy the FIFA-endorsed communication set but the company owner is ill ... we are awaiting a reply from the firm.”