FAM denounces FIFA decision on normalisation committee

The Football Association of Maldives (FAM) has denounced the normalisation committee appointed by FIFA to revise the association and organise fresh elections.

“It is improbable this is the final decision of FIFA as the FIFA executive committee has the right to overrule the decision as it was made by a FIFA emergency committee,” local media reported an FAM statement as reading.

FIFA yesterday announced the formation of a five-member normalisation committee after the collapse of the FAM Congress in September and resignations of several of the members of the FAM Executive Committee, making it impossible to reach a decision-making quorum.

The FAM rejected the move today, saying that the decision was made using a number of false assumptions, noting that an accurate account of events was now being provided.

“One [assumption] was that the FAM executive committee failed to hold the annual congress. However, the executive committee’s responsibility is to organise the congress and that the executive committee fulfilled its responsibilities.”

“The executive committee does not have to take responsibility for the events which occurred at the congress and the perpetrators are being investigated by the FAM.”

The FAM’s 6th congress was abandoned in late September after a number of clubs refused to continue with the agenda following the refusal to consider a no-confidence motion against association President Ilham Ahmed – also Jumhooree Party MP for the Alif Dhaal Dhagethi constituency.


FIFA appoint normalisation committee to revise FAM laws and organise elections

FIFA has appointed a normalisation committee to revise Football Association of Maldives (FAM) statutes, removing President Ilham Ahmed.

“The decision to appoint a normalisation committee follows the collapse of the FAM Congress in September and resignations of several of the members of the FAM Executive Committee, which made it impossible to reach the necessary quorum to take valid decisions,” read a statement from football’s world governing body today.

The five-member normalisation committee is tasked with organising elections by 30 September 2015 at the latest.

The FAM’s 6th congress was abandoned in late September after a number of clubs refused to continue with the agenda, following the refusal to consider a no-confidence motion against Ilham – also Jumhooree Party MP for the Alif Dhaal Dhagethi constituency

Ilham had told local media prior to the meeting that suspension from FIFA was likely if the FAM failed to proceed with the congress, while New Radiant Sports Club Chairman Ali Waheed also warned of dire consequences.

Waheed – also Maldivian Democratic Party chairman – urged revisions to FAM statutes during the eventually-abandoned congress, reported maldivesoccer.com.

Article 7, paragraph 2 of the FIFA statutes, under which the decision has been made, reads as follows:

“Executive bodies of Member Associations may under exceptional circumstances be removed from office by the Executive Committee in consultation with the relevant Confederation and replaced by a normalisation committee for a specific period of time.”

Members of the normalisation committee include Mohamed Shaweed as chairman, Abdul Hameed Abdul Ghafoor as deputy chairman, Mohamed Nizam, Ali Umar, and Faseeh Zahir.

The FAM also came under scrutiny during the AFC Challenge Cup, held in the Maldives during May this year.

The Asian Football Confederation suggested that the Maldives could face suspension from further tournaments should the Anti-Corruption Commission follow-through with plans to investigate possible corruption regarding ticket sales.

The ACC had announced it would investigate potential misconduct after irregularities in the sale of tickets prompted angry protests outside FAM headquarters.

“Since the jurisdiction to investigate any misconduct remains exclusively with the AFC and FIFA, if any domestic investigative authority attempts to intervene in the affairs of AFC or in any tournament conducted by AFC in partnership with FAM, the Republic of Maldives, as a member of AFC and FIFA is at risk of being penalised for such intervention, including suspension from international events and tournaments,” read an AFC press release in May.

Minivan News received information at the time that relatives of FAM staff had been selling tickets at inflated prices.

Related to this story

Afghan coach suggests Maldives should not host further tournaments


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.


Maldives to kick off SAFF championship

The Maldives national football team will kick off its South Asian Football Federation Championship (SAFF) campaign against Sri Lanka tonight.

Despite the resignation of the Team Manager Ibrahim Amir after a dispute over player discipline during the team’s pre-tournament trip to Thailand, officials are confident that all adversities can become overcome.

“I believe it’s a loss to the team if we lose anyone close to the team,” said Assistant Secretary General of the Football Association of Maldives (FAM), Mohamed Nasir.

“However, the team is very determined to win despite the situation,” he added.

Amir left the team after disagreements with the FAM over the inclusion of two players in the squad. Nasir recommended the suspension of Ismail Easa and Hassan Adham after the pair returned late to the team hotel, but was overruled by the FAM who argued it was too late to replace the two important players.

Team captain and all-time leading goalscorer Ali Ashfaq told media today that he felt preparations for this tournament had been better than ever before.

“We came here to win the tournament and be with us as the 12th player. Insha Allah we will win the tournament this time, so be with us.” said Ashfaq.

SAFF record

The Maldives are the second most successful team in the tournament’s twenty year history, behind six time winners India. The Maldives’ sole victory came in 2008, after they defeated India team who are otherwise unbeaten in the competition since 2005.

The Maldives take on neighbours Sri Lanka – kick off 5:45 Maldivian time – in the second of Group B’s games. Afghanistan and Bhutan will play this afternoon.

The two sides last met in the semi-finals of the 2009 SAFF championship, with the Maldives claiming an emphatic 5-1 victory in Male’.

Group A’s games began on Saturday, with tournament hosts Nepal beating Bangladesh 2-0. This was followed by champions India beating neighbours Pakistan 1-0.

Coach Istvan Urbanyi – retained by the FAM for his third SAFF tournament – told media last week that the final group game against Afghanistan (September 6) would be crucial.

“No need to talk about options. The first two games we must win, and last game is probably a fight to which position who will qualify, but its better to focus on each game,” Urbanyi told the press.

Afghanistan are the highest FIFA-ranked team in the tournament, followed by India and then the Maldives.

“We have a good team, but nobody can say that they have the strongest team. Small details will make a difference. We are ready to fight. Our target is to take back the trophy to make fans happy,” said the Hungarian coach.


Shah Ismail appointed as Sports Adviser at Ministry of Human Resources, Youth and Sports

Former Football Association of Maldives (FAM) Secretary General Shah Ismail has been appointed as Sports Adviser at the Ministry of Human Resources, Youth and Sports.

Local media reported that Ismail had formerly served as the captain of the national football team and had played for both New Radiant Sports Club and Club Valencia.