Make football decisions based on data, not hunches

Data is derived from information and statistics, allowing one to make an informed decision based on influencing trends and factors.

A simple comparison can be made with the weather forecast. Without data how would the weatherman (or woman) predict rain?

However, it seems almost impossible to drill ‘data’ into the mindset of those running Malaysian football. The 2021 M-League is scheduled to start in a month, yet teams and fans remain unsure if the domestic league will eventually kick off.

There have been cries and pleas from various parties to allow the Super and Premier Leagues to begin. And there’s the usual pin drop silence from the governing body.

There are those who say the government should consider allowing the M-League to start because it is a huge industry. Wasn’t it already an established industry – something which the stakeholders could have built and drilled into the heads of the powers-that-be decades ago?

With Malaysia registering Covid-19 cases in the thousands daily – how can the decision-makers guarantee there will not be a health hazard once football is allowed?

Through data, one can control certain factors and base his or her argument on the information obtained to justify the commencement of the league.

Some form of football, amateur or professional, was allowed during the short freedom Malaysians enjoyed late last year, before the second Movement Control Order was implemented on Jan 13. There has not been a football cluster.

Such is the importance of data – especially in an industry that is in dire need of being saved.

Fans’ engagement, viewership, revenue, potential revenue, transaction within, potential transaction, information of viewers (i.e. demographic, earning bracket, gender and age) are some obvious information for administrators of football clubs to move ahead and monetise their efforts.

The suggestion to get a government-linked company to dump money into sports is just a typical and lazy move. The mentality of hoping for a business grant or angel investor has been the modus operandi for football teams for ages.

It may help in the short term. But why can’t a team strive to achieve profit or at least break even without a single sen from the owner, chairman or president?

Revenues in Europe are in the billions and as such benefit the governments in taxes. Where else in Malaysia, the guardians of football cancelled the FA Cup last season. Why? Perhaps because there was probably no data to back the need of organising the competition by the decision-makers at Wisma FAM in Kelana Jaya.

When the government allows football to continue, the administrators must be ready to handle running a profitable league while safeguarding the health of the players and coaches.

It will take disciplined leadership and a very motivated team to make it happen but most importantly they would need data to help make every decision instead of relying on hunches.

No more looking out into the sky and predicting the rain, please. Watch the weather forecast, have an umbrella or rain jacket and prepare for every possible situation. That’s what Malaysian football needs.

This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Twentytwo13.

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