JP MP Ilham attacked with a pavement brick

Jumhooree Party’s (JP) deputy leader and MP for Dhangethi constituency Ilham Ahmed was attacked on Friday morning with a pavement brick, the party has said.

Ilham, also the President of the Football Association of Maldives, was reportedly attacked shortly after he had left JP leader Gasim Ibrahim’s residence in the early hours of the morning.

The police said no arrests have been made in the case yet.

In a statement condemning the attack, JP said Ilham had suffered various injuries and had to receive medical care.

The attack comes at a time when the ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives is dismissing political appointees belonging to the JP after it dissolved a coalition agreement with the JP, the statement noted.

The JP urged the government to investigate the matter immediately and called on the government to ensure a safe environment for MPs.


Corruption and conspiracy allegations mar AFC Challenge Cup

With additional reporting by Ahmed Naish

The national unity created by the AFC Challenge Cup appeared to waver today as protests broke out in ticket lines amid claims of corruption while the police commissioner alleged a conspiracy in yesterday’s Addu City bus crash.

Supporters of the national team staged a protest outside the Football Association of Maldives (FAM) after ticket sales for Tuesday’s semi-final against the Phillipines were halted, with the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) promising an investigation.

Sources who wished to remain anonymous told Minivan News today that they had bought tickets at inflated prices from relatives of senior FAM officials – the organisation has denied these claims.

ACC President Hassan Luthfee expressed confusion over the sale of tickets, telling local media that the commission will investigate how the number of available tickets in the 8,000 capacity stadium suddenly dropped to 150 today.

Luthfee was not responding to calls at the time of publication.

Meanwhile, Police Commissioner Hussain Waheed told police media that suggestions yesterday’s accident was pre-planned were credible. He did not provide details, saying the police would be looking into the matter further.

FAM President and MP Ilham Ahmed said today that Asian Football Confederation (AFC) officials had called him to ask if the environment in the country was safe to continue the tournament. The confederation intends to take action against the FAM regarding yesterday’s accident, reported Ilham.

After AFC reportedly raised concerns about security at the National Stadium, Chief Superintendent of Police Ismail Naveen today said that – despite proceedings having been peaceful up to now – police were now upgrading security services of the national stadium.

Speaking at the press conference held today, FAM’s director of football said that tickets were not sold or given to FAM staff in a way that could lead to misuse.

Ilham – who said that police had advised the FAM stop selling tickets after people broke the queue – said the FAM had sold three tickets to each member of staff , while locals were only allowed two tickets each for the semi-final.

Ilham claimed that 50,000 people wanted to get into the 8,000 person National Stadium for Tuesday’s semi-final saying that the FAM would try to screen the upcoming matches in Olympus theatre, Adi Park, and in the Social Centre in Malé.

Today’s events followed yesterday’s accident in which five members and two officials from the Afghan team suffered minor injuries in a bus accident on Addu City’s link road.

Police and media reports describe the accident as having been caused when the driver attempted to overtake a van travelling in front of the team’s motorcade. The van was forced to break, causing the following vehicles to hit it from behind.

One police officer accompanying the motorcade broke an arm, while a female protocol officer suffered head injuries. Eight others, including two soldiers and two locals also suffered injuries.

The site of the accident – the 14-kilometer Link Road in Addu City – is the longest paved road in the country and is a notorious accident hot spot.

The tournament, which concludes on May 30, has been lauded for uniting the people of the country after a prolonged period of political division.


Cameroonian player owed over US$13,000 by Maldives football club from 2009

A second foreign footballer has come forward regarding his mistreatment by Club Valencia in the Maldives, claiming that he is still owed US$13,610 by the club since 2009.

Cameroonian national Nkemi A Rim Marcelin was signed to the Maldivian football team from 2007 to 2009, but left after he was allegedly unpaid for a total of five months.

Marcelin’s pay dispute mirrors that of another African player, Wright Charles Gaye, who was signed to Club Valencia in 2012.

On Sunday (March 10), Minivan News reported that Charles had been forced to stay in Male’ for six months whilst waiting for Club Valencia to pay him his remaining US$2,600 salary and a promised one-way ticket home to Liberia.

Unlike Charles, Marcelin was able to leave the Maldives despite being owed over US$13,000, after his new club Becamex Binh Duong Football Club in Vietnam paid for his flight out of the country.

“I feel very, very sad for the club [Valencia], I had helped to win cups in the Maldives, but they are still saying they cannot pay me my money,” Marcelin told Minivan News.

“The club’s management said they would send me all of the money in Vietnam, but I have not received anything yet,” he added.

According to Marcelin, he is still owed US$10,210 from January 2009 to May 2009, as well as a one-way ticket home worth US$1,500.

A number of emails obtained by Minivan News detailing contact between Marcelin and Club Valencia officials from 2010, show the Cameroonian striker pleading with team management and Football Association of Maldives to rectify the problem.

In a message addressed to both the former general secretary of Club Valencia Mohamed Ahmed and the club’s former Chairman Ahmed Saleem, Marcelin claims they had promised to send the money to him 10 months ago.

“I’m not good [at] this moment because my father is sick in Cameroon [and] I don’t have [the] money to give for a hospital,” reads the message, dated March 2010.

A single response sent on March 2010 from Club Valencia’s former Chairman, Saleem, reads: “Thank you for your mail. Sorry for being able to answer your call. I will try to settle your outstanding [payment] ASAP.”

Despite later pleas for the club to pay half of his owed salary for his father’s treatment and a complaint to Football Association of Maldives (FAM) – the most recent dated from February 2013 – Marcelin has received no response.

Club Valencia’s current Chairman Ibrahim Raai Rasheed was not responding to calls or text messages from Minivan News at time of press.

Football Association of Maldives

In regard to Marcelin’s complaint, FAM General Secretary Mohamed Hanim stated that the issue should have been addressed by the former FAM administration.

“We are a new administration that came in on January 26 this year. As soon as I receive a complaint on my table, I will address that problem accordingly.

“FAM will always stand for the rights of players and the clubs. If there is a player [who has a complaint] they should follow procedures for it to be addressed,” Hanim told Minivan News.

When asked if there was any concern from FAM regarding rumours that certain clubs were taking away the passports of foreign players, Hanim said: “We will not taken action on speculations and rumours, instead we take action on matters documented by players or the club itself.

In regard to the rights of players, the FAM Secretary said that the topic will be on the agenda for next Executive Committee meeting.

“The next meeting will involve discussing in more detail what actions we can be taken in regard to mistreatment of players.

“The meeting will highlight the rights of both foreign and local players and that they should be dealt with in a manner that could be regarded as inhumane. This goes for every club,” Hanim said.

Had to survive off handouts: Wright Charles Gaye

Former Club Valencia striker Wright Charles Gaye was finally able to return home on Sunday (March 10) after six months of living in poverty in Male’.

Charles, who resigned from Club Valencia in September 2012 due to a lack of salary, was left stranded in Male’ as he waited for two month’s worth of salary from the club and a promised one-way-ticket home.

Speaking to Minivan News the Liberian national said that he had been forced to live in accommodation with no water or electricity and had survived on just MVR 500 (US$32.49) a week.

Club Valencia’s management stated that the reason behind the delay in Charles’ payments, was because there had been a delay in securing financial assistance from both the sports ministry and from the club’s sponsorship.

Media coverage of Charles’ situation resulted in Club Valencia paying him US$2,600, a one-way ticket home and an extra month’s salary.


MNDF denies threatening DRP MP and head of FAM

The Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) has denied threatening to set fire to the car of DRP MP and Football Association head Ali Azim.
The media reported allegations by Azim that the MNDF had threatened him after the Football Association of Maldives (FAM) decided not to allow any of the Force’s teams to participate in their tournaments.
“It is false to say MNDF threatened him, I am totally sure that MNDF would never fall to such a low level,’’ MNDF spokesperson Major Abdul Raheem told Minivan News. “All the telephones here are easily accessible to almost all the staff, so it is possible that a staff member working here called him and made the threat.’’

He said that did not mean that it was an “official call” from the MNDF.

‘’It is very difficult to track down the person who called, but MNDF and the police are trying to figure it out,’’ Raheem said.

“Although we were all demoralised by the decision of FAM to disallow our participation in the tournaments, we would not do something like this,” he said. “We eagerly want to take part in the FAM tournaments and we are still trying for it.’’

Everything the MNDF did to regain access to the tournament would be conducted in accordance with the laws.

Azim had told local newspapers that a number belonging to the MNDF contacted his brother and threatened that his car will be set on fire.

‘’The phone call was made from an MNDF number to Mohamed Shiyaz [brother of Azim]. The caller said they had been trying to get in touch to me, and told him to tell me  they will set fire to my car,’’ Azim told the media.

Haveeru called the number and found it belonged to the MNDF’s communication department.


National team players unhappy with late salaries

Members of the national football team have met the sports minister and Football Association Maldives (FAM) officials over pay issues.

According to Haveeru, the players have not received salaries for the last two months of last year.

After the meeting FAM announced that the players salaries would be released, reports Haveeru.

A few of the senior squad members have also lodged a complaint about not receiving any of the US$25,000 prize money the team received for being runners-up in the recent SAAF championship.

FAM said they have yet to receive the prize money.


Under 23’s begin preparation for SAFF games

The Maldivian under 23 football squad has started training for the upcoming SAFF games in Bangladesh.

The team is currently being looked after by the assistant coach for the Maldivian national team. He is in charge until head coach István Urbányi returns from a short trip back to Hungary.

According to the rules, only players born after the 1st January 1987 are allowed to participate. However, three senior members are allowed in the team – these three have yet to be announced.


3rd division match to be replayed

A football game between the Police and MNDF clubs in the national 3rd  division will be replayed due to referee error.

MNDF won the match 1-0 on 14 December. However referee Ahmed Ameez was found to be in the wrong when he ordered the retaking of a penalty that was put away by the Police Club. Even after the second attempt was put away he judged it to be a foul and gave MNDF club a free kick.

According to Haveeru, the Football Association of Maldives (FAM) issued a statement saying that according to FIFA laws the match must be replayed, and said action would be taken against Ameez.

There has been no date scheduled for the replay, while the three points awarded to the MNDF have now been removed.