BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
The participation of police team PDRM FA in the Super League has raised a few eyebrows, to say the least.
Their performance in the 2019 Premier League alone cast doubts over their ability to be competitive in Malaysia's top tier. They initially ended the season in fourth place, and were only promoted due to the facts that the second-placed club, reserve team JDT II, cannot be promoted, and initial third-place finishers Pulau Pinang then had six points deducted for failure to settle a former player's wage.
And their off-the-pitch affairs too inspire little confidence. They currently owe their 2019 squad's wages and recently received a stern warning from the Malaysian FA (FAM) to settle the debts, or face expulsion from competitions.
Speaking in a sponsorship agreement unveiling press conference with telecommunications company RedOne on Thursday, club honorary secretary ACP Zulkefly Yahya remarked that the club have already agreed a payment plan with the players.
"We have agreed to pay 90 per cent of the players in installments, and have begun making the payments this month. Sure, the payment dates are past the datelines given by FAM, but this is allowed if it is agreed with the players. They understand our situation. The total amount is not a big sum; it's since July 2019, amounting close to RM1 million (around USD250,000).
"The remaining 10 per cent are foreign players, but it doesn't mean they do not agree with the plan, it's just we haven't been able to contact either them or their representatives," explained the police official.
The Cops too are unlikely to field a roster composed of full-fledged professionals.
"We plan to field mostly police officers, but still by bolstered by non-police local players and import players, to ensure our wage bill remains manageable. We'll sign at least four foreign players.
"But do take note that even if they are police officers, a number of them are former professional players, or those who used to play competitively, who then decided to join the police force. The Malaysian police do recruit athletes and former athletes after all," Zulkefly remarked.
Team manager Datuk Khalil Azlan Chik meanwhile revealed that they will make the Kuala Lumpur Football Stadium in Cheras as their homeground, and that they will don Al-Ikhsan-produced kits. But most bizarrely is the target set for the league:
"With what we have, we want to finish in the top-five."
RedOne chief executive officer Farid Yunus declined to reveal the exact amount of the company's sponsorship of the police team when asked by Goal, but only said that it is a seven-figure deal.
The 2020 season will be their first season back in Malaysia's top-tier since 2016, and this time around they will be led by head coach Ishak Kunju Mohamad.
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