TMJ says FAM are in debt; Mario Gomez rethinks Malaysia job
JOHOR BAHRU -- One of the biggest challenges the Crown Prince of Johor (TMJ) will face as new Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) president is restoring the finances of the national body, putting the appointment of new national coach Mario Gomez in doubt.
TMJ checked FAM's books in one of his first duties as supremo to find they are RM40 million in debt.
"FAM has no money. I have checked everything, all the files and documents, and realise we have no money," said TMJ at a special media session in Johor Bahru on Tuesday.
"We have a shortage of RM40 million. How am I going to run the league? One of the ways we are going to change that is by finding sponsors for the rest of this season and following ones. It is not easy being in the hot seat, these are some of the challenges I face."
TMJ also revealed that his former Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) coach Gomez has requested a more lucrative offer than FAM can afford.
"Mario Gomez wants more money, so we may not even go for him, because we have no money. He has requested time to think about it," TMJ said.
Kedah coach Tan Cheng Hoe had emerged as a leading contender to work alongside Gomez as assistant national coach, suggesting that he might potentially be able to take on the top job. But that plan may not transpire as TMJ still prefers a foreigner to lead Malaysia.
The JDT boss, however, left the door open for Tan to come on board to the national setup.
"It is up to the next coach if he wants to take Tan Cheng Hoe. But if he wants to be part of the national setup, that is up to him," TMJ said. In a statement on Monday, Kedah said they will only be open to Tan leaving once he receives an official offer from FAM.
TMJ also called for a fresh start in terms of a broadcast deal.
In 2015, international sports agency MP & Silva signed an RM1.26 billion, 15-year deal with FAM. But the partnership has failed to bear fruit in terms of a lucrative Pay TV platform.
"I am not aware of the situation with MP & Silva, they may be having legal issues with FMLLP. But having said that, we will try to rectify the situation. FAM will be having talks with Zenith (Media), Fox Sports and Astro."
Terrestrial broadcasters Media Prima currently broadcast a handful of Malaysia Super League matches in a modest deal reportedly worth just over RM6 million.
The new FAM hierarchy are scheduled to have their first executive committee meeting in Sabah on Saturday.
TMJ is planning to have a meet and greet session with the fans in the East Malaysian state.
Nicolas Anil is a former Malay Mail and Goal.com Malaysia editor/writer who appears on BFM Radio as a football analyst. Twitter: @nicolas_anil.