KUALA LUMPUR: The Professional Footballers’ Association of Malaysia (PFAM) expressed its sympathy over the fate of Kedah Darul Aman (KDA) FC players who are facing salary arrears ahead of the new 2024/2025 Super League season scheduled to start on May 10.

PFAM president Safee Sali said he was clearly saddened to think about the feelings of the KDA FC players, including those who had to celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri in their respective hometowns.

“We really feel sorry to see the players facing the problem of salary arrears this raya and it is still not over with the new Super League season almost starting soon,“ he told Bernama.

Safee said the association would check the progress of the case with PFAM’s lawyers.

He said the crisis which hit the Sang Kenari team also tarnished the image of the country’s football every season as football fans continue to be presented with unpleasant stories related to similar problems before the start of the new league competition.

Safee said the failure of KDA FC management to manage funds well could invite the risk of Sang Kenari disappearing from the Super League radar thus reducing the excitement of the local football scene next season.

“If a team such as Kedah that has a large fan base in the country fails, (it) is a bad sign for our league. Not only the fans but the shareholders and parties involved will also be affected by facing huge losses in this situation,“ said the former national striker.

On April 5, KDA FC received a penalty when they were given a three-point deduction from the 2024/2025 Super League season and a fine of RM50,000 for failing to make full payment of the 2023 salary arrears.

The chairman of the independent body First Instance Body (FIB) Sheikh Mohd Nasir Sheikh Mohd Sharif said this was after the team was found to have failed to comply with the terms of settling the entire salary arrears on March 30.

If Kedah fails to make the full payment of the salary arrears or submit proof of financial documents to complete the payment by 5 pm, on April 20, the team’s National License may be revoked and thus ineligible to play in the 2024/2025 Super League competition.

In the meantime, former Kedah striker Akmal Rizal Ahmad Rakhli hopes that his old team can be saved from being eliminated from the Super League competition next season.

If Kedah is not featured in the Super League, Akmal Rizal, who is saddened by the turn of event on his old team, is confident that next season’s competition will lose its shine as the northern team has often been in the top of the league.

“However, the final decision depends on the organisers whether Kedah is able to complete what was requested before. However, I am confident that the team management is working to try to resolve it in the near future,“ said the Penang FC head coach.

Meanwhile, local football observer, Mohd Sadek Mustafa said if KDA FC’s departure becomes a reality due to the salary crisis, it will have major implications on the Super League next season considering that they are one of the main challengers to 10-time consecutive champions, Johor Darul Ta’zim apart from Selangor FC, Sri Pahang FC and Sabah FC.

“This situation will certainly have a big impact on the Super League itself from the financial aspect, sponsorship, the attendance of supporters at the stadium as well as the number of viewers on television,“ he said.

Sang Kenari has its own history in the local league scene having won the treble title twice in a row by successfully winning the Super League, FA Cup and Malaysia Cup in the 2007 and 2008 seasons.

Kedah has so far won the Malaysia Cup and the FA Cup five times in addition to the Sumbangsih Cup three times.