Wednesday September 19, 2012
Time to right the wrong
COMMENT BY R.MANOGARAN
MALAYSIAN sports is where right is often wrong and wrong is often right.
It’s never easy doing the right thing, not when it is bound to make you unpopular. It is even more difficult to do so when you have glorified clerks and wannabe politicians in charge of sports associations.
So here we have it, yet another unsavoury episode in the long running saga of ineptitude, injustice, tragedy and bungling in the theatre of local sports.
Child A steals some sweets from a shop and Child B spots it. Child B informs the shopkeeper. The parents of Child A punish Child B for telling the shopowner without informing them first. They give him three strokes of the rotan and ground him for six months.
As for Child A, he gets off with a warning – a slap on the wrist.
That may be an extreme scenario but it describes the situation Terengganu coach Peter Butler finds himself in for publicly denouncing two of his players who broke curfew and returned to the team hotel at 3am on the day of their Malaysia Cup match against Kedah in Alor Star on Aug 28.
He had every right to do so. He was the coach after all and that, in most instances and in most any other countries, would mean being responsible for maintaining discipline in the team.
Afterall, he is expected to produce results. So he blew his top, informed the media and dropped the two players.
He was justified as indiscipline cannot and should not be tolerated in any form.
Terengganu should be thankful to him for cracking down on indiscipline. Instead, Butler was hung out to dry by the FA on Monday.
They suspended him for six months and fined him RM4,000 for issuing a statement to the media without the approval of the team management.
If that was strange, they showed just how much they cared about fairplay or justice by letting the culprits get away almost scot-free.
The duo - Muslim Ahmad and Ismail Faruqi - admitted to sneaking out and returning to the hotel at 3am on match day. They were given a warning and fined RM1,000 each.
So where’s the rationale in that. It certainly begs belief.
It would appear that Butler was being punished more for putting the FA in a discomforting position rather than his blowing the whistle on players breaking the rules.
But that is Malaysian sports where the officials prefer yes men who don’t rock the boat, no matter how bad the situation or how vile the crime.
They prefer not to know, not to get involved, not to act or make the hard decisions necessary to instill discipline or do the right thing. And so the rot has set in at all levels of Malaysian sports.
Football? It has been in decline for 30 years and is now in total decay.
Sepak takraw? Ditto.
Hockey? It’s getting there.
Badminton? Ditto. And so it goes on because of the apathy, indifference and incompetence of the men in charge.
Butler was also docked 15% of his salary for pushing and cursing at goalkeeper Ahmad Sharbinee Allawee after the player was substituted during the return match against Kedah in Kuala Terengganu on Sept 1.
It was unbecoming of a coach to do that, more so infront of the home fans. No complains here.
But Ahmad Sharbinee was let off with just a warning and a RM1,000 fine for throwing a water bottle at Butler when he was substituted.
This was gross insubordination which certainly deserved a heavier punishment. One can only speculate what the penalty would have been if the keeper had thrown the bottle at a FA official or state bigwig.
The Terenganu FA’s cop-out sends out all the wrong messages. It flies in the face of reason. And we wonder what is wrong with Malaysian sports and society.
But then, these are days when rapists walk and those who speak out or are brave enough to expose wrong are punished.
Sports, it would seem, is no exception. Just blame it on the butler.