Rage against racism

No peaceful match: Perak’s D. Kenny Palraj (centre) vying for the ball with Selangor’s Rodney Akwensivie and K. Prabakaran, who was a target of racists, during the Super League match on Saturday.

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Football League (MFL) and the Football Association of Malaysia have come out strongly to defend Selangor coach B. Sathianathan after his outburst over racism in the local football scene.

Sathianathan was seething after social media criticism of his left-back K. Prabakaran, who was racially abused after the team’s 1-1 draw with Perak last Saturday. Among others, Prabakaran was called “keling” by some social media commenters.

Furthermore, Sathianathan was also accused of “favouritism” towards those “of his own skin colour.”

The MFL now want the M-League teams to be more proactive to combat racism. Chief executive officer (CEO) Datuk Abdul Ghani Hassan said the racial abuses happened on social media and the best way to curb the abuses was to lodge complaints with the relevant authorities.

“Racial abuses in the M-League are not widespread but we do view seriously the incidents that angered Sathianathan. But there is little we can do about what happens on social media,” said Abdul Ghani after the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) exco meeting.

“Teams need to be proactive in combating this menace, the teams can monitor so provocations on social media don’t go overboard.

“The teams can and should lodge official reports to the relevant authorities. I hope this case will not be dragged on as it’s a very sensitive issue.”

The FAM have also slammed those who claimed that Sathianathan picks his team based on ethnicity.

FAM deputy president Datuk Mohd Yusoff Mahadi said that in the age of professionalism, only players’ abilities matter, not their creed or colour.

“This is appalling and shocking ... we are in the age of professional football where we have professional coaches and players in our league and they are picked based on their abilities, not because of other factors like race,” said Yusoff.

“We are a multiracial country and we have players from different races even in the national team, so I really think these racial abuses should stop.”

In a different development, the FAM launched the second edition of the Malaysian Premier Futsal League (MPFL), which will be backed by seven sponsors, including three new ones.

Yoodo remains the official digital telecommunications partner, Astro the official digital broadcast partner, 100Plus the official drink and Joma the official ball provider. The three new partners are Firefly, Kaki Jersi and Cuckoo.

The 2020 MPFL which will begin on Saturday, will see an increase from eight teams to 12 this season.

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