Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Kelantan FA Chairman Tan Sri Annuar Musa alleges LionsXII participation in the Malaysian Super League has to do with increasing gambling revenue

source: Goal.Com (Malaysia)

The outspoken Red Warriors supremo has launched an extraordinary claim of ulterior motives for the Singapore side's return to Malaysian competitions

Already under investigation by the Football Association of Malaysia for his outspoken comments on the Malaysian national team, Kelantan FA Chairman, Tan Sri Annuar Musa, took to Facebook on Monday to allege gambling motives behind the LionsXII return to the Malaysian Super League.

Posting on his popular Facebook page, Annuar claimed that the LionsXII were playing in the Malaysian Super League to increase the gambling base of Football Association of Singapore's (FAS) principal partner, Singapore Pools, a legalised betting company. 

He went on to add: "The LionsXII joined the Malaysian Super League to make more money for Singapore Pools who are funding the FAS, so the federation is implicated as well and are liable for investigation."

Annuar also claimed that LionsXII were fielding an Under-29 team instead of an Under-23 team as proposed at the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in August 2011, as a more senior team with recognised players will add to the popularity of the team, and hence lead to more interest from punters. 

The Kelantan Chairman has been no stranger to controversy and was recently embroiled in a public spat with his former Red Warriors coach, Peter Butler who was relieved of his duties soon after.

In an exclusive with Goal.com Malaysia, Butler had claimed interference from Annuar with team selection. The latter then put the Englishman's claims down to unhappiness over compulsory tax deductions. 

Annuar is facing a potential two-year ban from all football activities if found guilty of breaching Article 88 of FAM's statutes, which states that only the Federation's President and Secretary General are permitted to make statements on local football.

The Kelantan chief had publicly criticised the Malaysian national team and its coach K.Rajagobal for poor performance last month. Initially liable to only a small fine, Annuar had exacerbated the situation with further public comments, though he has since backed down and accepted full responsibility and due course of action.

Malaysian striker Safee Sali had also expressed his concern over the matter.

"It is best that those who are not directly involved with the national team not make any comments," he told the New Straits Times.

"Our coach has his own unique style and strategies and as a national player, I believe he is doing his best to prepare us for the AFF Cup.

"We do not need people to be critical at this stage as it affects us too."

Despite the public falling out, Annuar enjoys immense support among the Kelantan faithful. An estimated 1,000 fans lent their backing in a demonstration at Sultan Mohamad (IV) Stadium in Kota Baru before Kelantan's 5-1 win over Felda United on Saturday evening.

Annuar will learn his fate on Wednesday, April 4 when he faces the FAM Disciplinary Committee.

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