Malaysian NSC to fund youth academies, teams

The Football Association of Malaysia stands to save almost RM3 million a year after handing over their 14 football academies to the National Sports Council, Christopher Raj reported in the New Staits Times. FAM Deputy President, Redzuan Sheikh Ahmad, said the RM3 million was not only for maintaining the academies, but also for sending seven age group teams abroad yearly for competitions and exposure. Under the partnership with NSC, the maintenance of the academies, the preparation of the U-23 team for the SEA Games and the expenses for the U-20 team will be borne by NSC. In the past two years, FAM has sent many age group teams for international exposure and Redzuan admitted that it was an expensive affair.

"We are in a partnership with NSC. They are only financing the academies ... just like other sports partnership arrangements. FAM still has a say as far as technical matters are concerned," said Redzuan. "We decide on the coaches and the program," added Redzuan, who is also the FAM technical committee chairman. "We are thankful to the government, especially to Datuk Azalina Othman (the Youth and Sports Minister) for helping us with the financing. The sponsorship scenario is no longer what it used to be. Now, with less sponsorship money, we need to spend wisely and at the same time look into the needs of the national teams."

He also confirmed that FAM had endorsed the appointment of Robert Alberts as the national U-20 coach for the Champions Youth Cup which Malaysia is scheduled to host in August.