FAM/MFL – Are you doing enough for local referees?

The late Nazri Abdullah will probably be turning in his grave upon hearing that foreign referees are being brought in to officiate the FA Cup Final.

Perhaps the likes of Stuart and Kevin Ramalingam did Nor know who Nazri was.

But suffice to say that the late Nazri was one , if not the best referee this country produced.

And ironically Nazri once officiated in the final in the Japan League.

Another household name. Subkidin was given the honour of officiating in the Hong Kong FA Cup Final.

Two instances when our match officials were held in high esteem internationally.

So are the FAM and MSL telling us we do not produce referees like we used to?

And if that is the case, then let us explore deeper as to how this situation came about, if it is true.

Firstly I must state that I was never a Football referee and have no business whatsoever trying to claim to know what is a correct or wrong decision.

But there are certain things similar to other team sports and being in hockey in various capacities, with a few years in Football ( at FAM, MyTeam and MSL), I think it’s perfectly okay to do comparisons and let readers figure things out,

Firstly the FAM it is learnt, last purchased a few sets of the communication devices between match teams officials in 2014, and I was informed it was around 5 sets.

For those who might not know, these are ear pieces worn by the man in the centre to communicate with his two Assistants and the fourth official.

It is also used when there are two assistants placed on the goal line, the AAR.

But these equipments hardly work anymore and despite several requests made, no new equipment was purchased by FAM or MFL.

Agreeable the referees come under FAM, but as the administrators of the leagues, the MFL are fury bound to ensure that full assistance is provided to match to match officials.

Just how many times have we seen the man in the centre walking up to consult the linesman on a decision when if such an equipment was working or made available, such incidents would be limited or unnecessary.

And mind you under the FIFA Forward Program, there are allocations, said to be in the range of USD50,000 for referee Development.

Another aspect is a recording of the match for analysis by the referee assessor after the match.

Currently the MFL has production teams to produce telecast of matches, unlike in the past when the public or private TV stations used to broadcast matches.

In hockey, a copy of the CD is handed over to the Media Officer after the match, for two reasons, should the tournament director want to review an incident or for the umpires manager to brief the umpires post match.

These CD’s are made available to help the match officials analyse their performance and to be used as a tool to correct any judgment errors they could have made.

So in Football, there had been requests for tapes to be provided so there could be a session held to de-brief the match officials the next morning,

But nothing was fine by FAM or MFL to provide these tapes and now they blame our match officials, often referred to as” Ref Kayu” in the stands ( so much so there is a Whatsapp Group named “ Ref Kayu.”).

Why is FAM and MFL not helping our referees improve?

And more importantly just how many months d season or periodical briefing sessions are held for March officials?

Read carefully – the EPL, yes the EPL, conducts briefing sessions for match officials periodically during a season, at times between 2-3 tines,

But here we only brief the officials before the season starts.

No one is perfect, and mistakes will always happen, but the onus is on FAM and MFL to take steps to endure these mistakes are reduced,

Have they not heard the proverb, life is a learning curve.

Give the men in black the respect, the authority , the education, the help they throughly deserve.

And if you cannot do that, then do not run salt in their wounds by saying they can learn from foreigners.

Remember we achieved independence in 1957, so we do not need to be colonists, least of all on the Football pitch.

And to the late Nazri, I am sorry my Friend if the current administrators have let you down. My apologies and may you look kindly upon our Football from the garden of the almighty.