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Disqualification of local clubs from AFC under investigation

26 November 2018, MVT 21:23
New Radiant facing off against Bengaluru FC during the AFC Cup 2018. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/MIHAARU
26 November 2018, MVT 21:23

Ministry of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment Ahmed Mahloof, confirmed opening an investigation into local clubs having lost their spots in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

In a tweet sent by the minister, he stated that he has finalized a committee that will investigate the elimination of all local clubs from AFC, highlighting amendments that need to be made by the ministry, as it is responsible for football, a sport supported by state funds.

“The investigation will proceed with the corporation of the Football Association of Maldives (FAM) and the clubs,” said the minister, himself a former manager of the national team.

The General Secretary of FAM Hussein Jawaz, welcomed the investigation run by the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment, promising full commitment from his department in solving the issue.

The state subsidizes first division clubs of the Maldives through the companies associated with them. In addition, the Ministry of Youth and Sports is responsible for the payment of salaries owed to the foreign coach staff working with the local clubs as well as providing assistance to the local clubs participating in the AFC competition.

AFC stopped distributing the licences to clubs that did not previously have the licences last year. Moreover, AFC has an online platform for registering and management of the licences provided that allow the clubs to participate in the competition. Although FAM had given several warnings to the clubs as a reminder of the pending deadline for online registration, none of the clubs had completed the signing up process in due time.

In response to the claim by FAM, some clubs stated that FAM had failed to approve numerous documents that were handed over, and that the association had not provided the documents required by AFC to complete the sign-up process.

Despite FAM urging AFC to give the clubs a second chance to resend the documents, AFC denied further opportunity.

Maldives has been competing in the AFC since 2004. This competition allows Maldivian footballers to gain first-hand experience in international football, having achieved commendable results against other teams. In 2005, New Radiant Sports Club shone in the competition by gaining the bronze medal and once more in 2013, by reaching the quarterfinal stage.