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Pahang boss Dollah Salleh banned for 18 months for insulting referee

Pahang coach Dollah Salleh has been handed a hefty 18-month ban by the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) for criticising the referee following his team's 2-1 defeat to Felda United on July 1.

Dollah, who led the Elephants to the Malaysia FA Cup final in May, was also fined RM30,000 for disparaging remarks in the Malaysia Super League (MSL) match.

But the former national coach, who breached Article 61 of FAM's Disciplinary code and Article 88 of the FAM statuette, could return to the touchline by April, depending on good behaviour.

"Making comments to the press regarding matters involving FAM, or innuendos, will give FAM's good name and reputation a negative impact," read a statement issued by FAM on Saturday.

"The punishment for this is an 18-month suspension from any football related activities under FAM's purview and a RM30,000 fine. This suspension can be appealed."

Dollah's sanctions, which take effect immediately, come after he chastised referee Mohammad Zamzaidi Katimin for awarding Felda a late penalty, converted by Thiago Fernandes, for a 2-1 win at Jengka Stadium.

"I am disappointed with what has happened. The players gave it everything, but the referee killed our spirits," Dollah said after the defeat.

Pahang FA coach Dollah Salleh
With good behaviour, Pahang head coach Dollah Salleh can return to football next April.

"A lot of his decisions throughout the match were disappointing, and I have kept quiet for so long. Pahang have been victims in many matches before this. Are all the decisions already planned in advance?"

FAM's Article 88 has been the bane of many coaches because of its limitation on freedom of speech.

In 2013, then-national coach K. Rajagobal was hauled up by the national body for complaining about the lack of strikers after a 4-1 friendly defeat to Saudi Arabia.

Rajagobal was eventually cleared of any wrongdoing by FAM.

Felda coach B. Satiananthan and Kelantan advisor Tan Sri Annuar Musa have also landed themselves in hot water for their comments on Harimau Malaya, and the domestic league.

The Article 88, which initially ruled only FAM President and secretary-general can make statements on the national team, has since been amended.

The extent of how much coaches and officials are allowed to touch on FAM's administration, however, remains unclear.

Other decisions meted out by FAM on Saturday sentenced Felda United playmaker Zah Rahan Krangar to a six-match ban for allegedly spitting on an opponent in the same game against Pahang on July 1.

The Liberian, will however, only serve only a two-match suspension, with the other four games depending on good behaviour.

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