When the current EXCO took over FAS in 2010, it was public knowledge that FAS was in a deep financial crisis. The estimated debt then was around RM4 million. Among others, the debt comprised of salaries owed to players since 2006, outstanding EPF contribution since 2004, stadium rentals since 1994 and unpaid medical bills for treatment of players.
Sure, we were very aware of the issues and challenges facing FAS. Managing football in the state requires a big budget. We knew FAS had a lot of liabilities we had to inherit. Whatever debts from the previous management had to be honoured provided these debts are well documented and accounted for. Of course, whatever expenditure by FAS must be authorised expenditure.
However, our priority upon taking over in 2010 was to ensure the smooth running of football in the State. Top priority was the Sarawak Team in the Malaysian League, the President Cup and the development of football across the State through the Divisional Leagues. These requires a lot of financial resources. At the same time we have to manage the old debts. We were also careful not to create new debts. For the record, this is the first time ever, starting last year, that FAS grants out allocations of RM30,000 each to all divisional affiliates to run their respective divisional leagues.
What was immediately important to us was to establish the credibility of the management so that we can enjoy the confidence of the sponsors, players, coaches and the fans. Without this, no players or coaches would want to come here and play for us. Well, so far since we took over, we have honoured and paid salaries of players and coaches.
Thank god we have now reduced our old debts. Some of the personalities that we owed were generous to consider the amount owed as donation or sponsorships. We acknowledged and have settled some outstanding old debts that are fully supported by receipts and invoices.
We appreciate the efforts of the past management who kept the association afloat during those difficult times. Some of the EXCO members had to chip in their own money to ensure the team could compete in the Malaysian league. I believe Paruwadi was one of those who had sponsored the team. Unfortunately, these expenses were without records. I believe all these spendings were done out of love for the game. These are common experiences of people who are involved in voluntary organisations such as FAS.
Therefore my advice to Datuk Dr Paruwadi - if indeed FAS owes him RM100k as he alleged, then he should come and sit down with the president to discuss how that should be settled. He shouldn't be making his claims through the media. There's nothing the media can do if he wants the so-called debt settled.
To keep fans updated: Sarawak will be competing for the Malaysia Cup. Robert Alberts will remain as coach. We have enlisted two Sabah players on loan...Bobby Gonzales and Shaharudin. We hope they will resolve our problem of scoring goals. I call upon our fans to please continue supporting our team during the Malaysia Cup campaign.