Khalid Samad to hold pow-wow with Shahidan, KL City’s money problems could be history

Kuala Lumpur City FC’s cash flow problems look likely to be resolved after Kuala Lumpur Football Association (KLFA) president Khalid Abdul Samad holds showdown talks with Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim this week.

KLFA has been hamstrung in its bid to sell the club’s shares to private investors due to an injunction obtained by Arcadin Services Sdn Bhd after a deal to buy half of Kuala Lumpur City – valued at RM5 million – collapsed last year, said Khalid.

Khalid said he intends to meet Shahidan to obtain financial support from Kuala Lumpur City Hall following the Super League club’s failure to pay the team’s salaries for the last two months.

“We have not received any contribution from City Hall for 2022, except for the bonus of RM1.5 million from the Federal Territories Ministry for winning the Malaysia Cup last year,” Khalid said after chairing KLFA’s annual general meeting earlier today.

“I will be meeting with the minister on Tuesday or Wednesday to discuss what needs to be done to guarantee the ministry’s continuous support. This issue is a mirror-image of what had happened in 2021 when we also did not get a contribution at the beginning, until we met the minister at the time (Tan Sri Annuar Musa).”

In a meeting with Kuala Lumpur players on Friday, Khalid told them that he would step down as KLFA president if the financial issues were not resolved soon.

Having told the 26 affiliates present at today’s meeting that Shahidan had indicated his interest to become KLFA president, Khalid hedged his answer when asked if he was willing to give way.

“We will have to see what his demands are before we issue a statement,” said the former FT minister. “I hope we can put aside all political matters in the interest of developing football in Kuala Lumpur. KLFA has a good development plan in place, and we hope we can implement it with the full support of the powers that be.

“I have no immediate plans of retiring as president and I hope the meeting with the minister will lead to a positive outcome. As KLFA president, I hope he acknowledges our achievement in bringing glory to the city, and he should give us his full support. It is quite strange that we are not getting the support, when we have achieved so much.”

KLFA is under pressure to speed up the disposal of their shares in Kuala Lumpur City, with the Malaysian Football League mandating that all clubs be in private hands, ahead of the 2023 season.

“Our attempt to privatise the club hit a hurdle when the other party did not perform, leading us to end the agreement,” said Khalid. “It is now subject to litigation, so I cannot elaborate. What I can say is that they were supposed to pay RM5 million to purchase a 50 per cent stake in the club last year, but that did not happen.

“That resulted in our financial planning going haywire, and we also lost one income stream when the Kuala Lumpur Football Stadium was handed over to that company.

“A lot depends on the discussion (with Shahidan) and I cannot deny that the financing need not necessarily come from City Hall. We are working on getting private sponsors to come in, given that interest in the club had increased after last year’s success.

“In the final analysis, Kuala Lumpur City must be a private entity. The dependence on government bodies for money has to be reduced, that is the long-term requirement.

“We want to be self-sufficient, and move towards that, and hope this is the last year we depend on City Hall for financing.”