* JDT fined RM100,000 while Pahang escape with a warning.
* Gary free to play for any team after serving suspension
* Kedah’s hopes of getting Gary’s services dashed
International Gary Steven Robbat made a mockery of FA of Malaysia’s (FAM) rules and regulations by putting his signature on the dotted line for two of the biggest in Malaysian football – Pahang, the Malaysia Cup and FA Cup champions and 2014 Charity Shield winners and JDT, last year’s Super League champions, cash rich Johor Darul Takzim, within one month.
He was rightly found guilty by the Players’ Status Committee headed by Datuk Takiyuddi Hassan, after a three-hour meeting. But the sentence was rather lenient in every sense. The three-month suspension plus a fine of RM50,000 is considered “peanuts” compared to the seriousness of the mess he created.
However, Gary, is somewhat lucky to have escaped a heavier punishment. As a professional, if he could decide where “big money” was in pursuit of his professional football career then Gary is also good enough to know as a professional that what he did was wrong in breaching the FAM rules and committed a serious offence although some claim that he is “young and ignorant” of the rules.
Signing officially, first for Pahang and days later for the Southern Tigers, speaks of the Kulim-born international’s arrogance and total disregard for the rules and regulations of a highly competitive league like the M-League. If one is allowed to escape with a light sentence it only encourages others flout the rules without respect.
He signed for Pahang and JDT – when he was still under contract with the FAM while still contracted to FAM until the end of 2015. However, FAM, did give the player a release letter later which officially released him from his existing contract with the FAM on Dec 1.
The greediness in Gary became the hot topic of Malaysian football with Pahang and JDT rightfully claiming that Gary was their player as he had officially signed contracts with them.
Signing up for more than one team has become a norm in the M-League. It warrants tough measures to be taken on the player for hoodwinking the teams. Gary’s sentence took effect from yesterday (16 Jan 2014) but when he completes his sentence he will be a “free agent” and will be free to sign for a team of his choice – which obviously is JDT – during the second transfer window in April.
JDT were also not let off the hook for signing Gary on Nov 21 while he was still a FAM player and were slapped with a hefty RM100,000 fine. Surprisingly, Pahang, who had also signed Gary when he was still under FAM contract, escaped with a “stern warning” for the same offence. Why did the Players’ Status Committee give out different sentences for the same offence?
Gary’s homestate Kedah’s hopes of getting the services of Gary and laid their claim on the player for “grooming and developing” him flew out of the window when Takiyuddin said: “The FAM developed and groomed the player…not Kedah.”
Despite Gary escaping with a somewhat light sentence, it should serve as a warning and a lesson that future cases of “doubling signings” will be dealt with more severely. Many had expected Gary to be put in cold storage for at least one season and send a strong signals that the FAM had enough of such nonsense and it is a time to put the foot down.
Meanwhile, in another development Pahang midfielder Fazol Hussien was told to pay his former team Pahang RM130,000 as compensation for signing up with JDT II for the new season while he is still under contract with Pahang until the end of 2015. It is another “light sentence” meted out by Takiyuddin and company.
For the record JDT II plays in the lower-tier Premier League.