Good news. It seems the century-old tradition of running a professional football team like a chess club or an arm-wrestling association by volunteers and politicians is coming to an end.
For the betterment of the football industry, I’m pleased that the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) has finally kicked some sense into its affiliates’ heads.
Initially there was plenty of opposition, and to a good extent hostility, in getting football teams licensed as professional clubs.
I was worried that by the time those running the state football associations were enlightened on the importance of establishing a commercial culture, our football league would have evaporated.
In a pretty world, football would be run by spirited volunteers and trustworthy politicians bent on seeing their state football team on the highest echelon of Asian football, if not Malaysian football.
Malaysian football has fallen into a deep crisis of integrity, which clearly explains the lack of corporate sponsorship and why Malaysian businesses and billionaires have been avoiding state football associations like runners avoiding rabid dogs.
This is why the latest initiative by FAM is something I look forward to and I believe must be forced down the throats of our state football associations.
A club licensing system creates extensive value on and off the pitch.
Those who are passionate about the game would appreciate the benefits – improving technical standards of coaching, encouraging youth development and improving football infrastructures. That should be rightly so.
But to me, the single most vital piece of the ensemble is attributed to the initiative’s capacity to leverage the development of strong governance and a robust organisational structure.
FC licensing cultivates a foundation for stable financial management and reporting, raising the economic and financial standing of the club through effective marketing and commercial exploitation which inevitably establishes a strong sense of stability and integrity for the club and the entire league.
So, are state football associations rejoicing at the need to implement a club licensing system?
They are instead crying and agonising because of the tedious and exhausting process. Licensing is tough but it is not an excuse to ignore or delay the need to conform to such professional standardisation.
One cannot argue against the need to implement a club licensing system. State football associations should just embrace the process and focus on meeting the licensing requirements.
And I can guarantee that even though your football team may not be as celebrated as it was a few years back when you actually won the treble, you would not be making a complete fool of yourself for not being financially sound and not paying millions of ringgit just on salaries.
This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Twentytwo13.