THE Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has urged the various stakeholders in the Malaysian game to aim for the middle ground in the face of financial challenges posed by COVID-19.

AFC general secretary Dato’ Windsor John implores all parties to open the window for discussions in the wake of possible financial consequences to the game.

“Some teams may lack the sufficient cash reserves to get them through a sustained period without revenue coming in, whether in terms of gate collection, sponsorship or governmental support.

“Clubs may not be able to fulfil their contractual obligations the same way as before. Reports from Europe have been highlighting that players are taking a pay cut or deferrals on wage payments.

“Hence in times of crises, we need big hearts. Under the present circumstances, this is the time for everyone to see the bigger picture.

“AFC would encourage member associations and players to understand the situation.

“It’s not the time for fault-finding but it is time to understand each other more.

“In short, we need everyone to sit down and find a solution together. The wider impact of any decision has to be the motivating factor over individual circumstances,” said Dato’ Windsor.

The global pandemic has affected football and Dato’ Windsor said changes were imminent, alluding to AFC’s decision to conduct a discussion with FIFPro, the global representatives of professional footballers anytime soon and also FIFA’s decision in forming a Task Force to mitigate a strategy in coping with the challenges.

“In the Malaysian context, AFC is urging for the teams and players representatives to find the right model in dealing with the possible consequences, as what has been done by Indonesian governing body PSSI.

“PSSI sat down with the stakeholders and agreed to a solution. We support the decisions made in times of crisis. Ultimately, we do not want clubs to be terminating contracts if they find they are no longer sustainable.”

PSSI has declared the period between March and June 2020 as force majeure and the clubs are permitted to pay a maximum of only 25 percent from the players’ salary stipulated in the contract.

In acknowledging the contractual obligations of the clubs are personal in nature, Dato’ Windsor advised the players to be realistic and pragmatic.

“While the clubs are obligated to pay the salaries in full, we cannot expect them to do so if there is no revenue. Talk to the teams and see what they can offer,” said Dato’ Windsor.

- Advertisement -