While some of the world footballers are taking pay cut amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, the Professional Footballers Association of Malaysia (PFAM) are insisting that their members get full wages during the lockdown.
The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) and the Malaysian Football League (MFL) have suspended all the M-League and footballing activities in line with the government’s movement control order (MCO) from March 18 to April 14 to curb the transmission of the deadly virus.
Several M-League teams are starting to feel the financial pinch over the league suspension as their coffers are drying up for not getting their gate collections.
It is learned that the M-League teams are also in a tight spot as their sponsors are struggling with their finances due to economic slowdown amid the Covid-19 and the MCO.
Facing unprecedented hardship, FAM and MFL have asked the players and the M-League teams to have an open discussion on wages, contract, welfare and other matters.
However, PFAM have been adamant with their demands and have refused to meet up with the team management to strike a deal.
And the situation is getting ugly.
FAM secretary-general Stuart Ramalingam stressed that they are not forcing the players to take a pay cut but to engage with their employers to come out with an amicable solution.
“We understand the players are facing financial difficulties but their teams too have the same problem with their funding, ” said Stuart.
“If a discussion takes place, the players can put across their demands and the teams can negotiate terms and put everything in a contract.”
He added that FAM had never taken sides and the recent decision to dock Melaka off three points in the Super League for not settling their players’ wages arrears was proof that they were impartial.
“We need to look at this situation differently, what we are facing now is something unprecedented and it’s an issue that is affecting everyone, not just football, ” said Stuart.
“I see there’s a need for the players and their teams to communicate.
“I personally see salary deferment as a win-win situation for both parties. A deferment can only be applied based on the salary amount, so players who are getting low pay won’t be affected.”
Stuart explained that expecting teams to have their funds secured for the entire season was something that rarely happened in reality.
He pointed out that most teams secured their sponsorship in stages and not in a lump sum at the beginning of the season.
“Teams are in trouble as the sponsors themselves are facing financial issues so is it fair to punish these teams?” asked Stuart.
“The recent government economic stimulus package announcement like bank loan deferments will reduce the financial strain on the players.
“All of us need to stick together to weather this storm.”