Sponsors have added more woes to M-League teams as the ravaging coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to take its toll worldwide with deaths nearly hitting the 195,000 marks and countries battle to check its spread.

Just like other countries in the world, Malaysia has not been spared and sporting activities brought to a standstill on all fronts while the Malaysian Football League brought to an abrupt halt when the Movement Control Order (MCO) was implemented on March 18.

While the debate goes on if the M-League should be cancelled for this year or completed – depending on what happens when the next phase ends on May 12. For the record, the M-League was stopped on March 16 after only four rounds of matches completed.

The FA of Malaysia and the Malaysian Football League (MFL) is keen to continue with the season with some adjustments here and there due to constraints and has put forward a proposal to the Ministry of Health and the National Security Council’s approval.

This was after FAM and MFL president Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin, MFL chief executive officer Datuk Abdul Hani Hassan held a special meeting with Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican.

The meeting was held to seek ”expert advice” and the standard operating procedures should the league be allowed to proceed.

Amid some positive developments, there is also the disturbing news of sponsors not fulfilling their promises after getting the due mileage when they pledged financial aid to the teams.

Sometimes your dream sponsors leave you high and dry that throws your financial accounts in a real mess and one such team is Super League’s Melaka United.

Melaka United (MUSA) vice-president Ashiq Samad revealed the FA’s coffers are dry after the sponsors failed to fulfill their promises they made at the end of last year – well before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country.

“We have been left high and dry by the sponsors…and we have not received a sen when the FA should have received at least 50 percent of the RM15 million that was promised. This amount would have been sufficient to settle our salary dues plus the team’s preparations,” Ashiq was quoted by local media.

“It is not fair to blame the change of leadership in the state because the sponsorship deals were done at the end of last year. Frankly, we have reached a critical stage where we have not been able to pay the salaries of the players and team officials.”

It is the same scenario with Kelantan FA and its secretary Husin Deraman was quoted as saying “we have not received any funds from our sponsors” and the East Coast state is also at its wit’s end.

“We have no funds to pay the salaries now that the M-League has been suspended. The sponsors have not done us good. At the same time with the suspension of the league, there is no income from gate collection.

”We are in a desperate situation, he said.

And those who are at the receiving end are the players who have been told to take a pay cut – some forcibly by the management. This has left the players in a lurch as a 20 percent deduction is a big amount as many are said to earn below RM5,000 and have families to feed. – BY RIZAL ABDULLAH 

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