PETALING JAYA, July 13 — A match official from Japan will be the one blowing the whistle in the FA Cup final clash between Perak and Kedah at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium on July 27.
Malaysian Football Association (FAM) secretary-general Stuart Ramalingam confirmed this at a press conference held at the end of the 55th FAM Congress here today.
Stuart said of the official requests sent to three nations, only Australia and Japan responded with positive feedback, and FAM then decided on three officials from the Land of the Rising Sun to handle the match.
“Australia and Japan had already confirmed their interest and FAM leaned more towards a Japanese referee and assistants after looking at their background and qualifications. It is also in line with FAM’s memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed with the Japanese Football Association (JFA) in April.
“Discussions were held with the JFA to confirm the availability of these referees besides other areas of help. The matter is now in the final stages,” he said.
Stuart said the three Japanese match officials comprise the referee and two assistant referees while a local will be appointed as the fourth match official for the game.
Prior to this, FAM and the Malaysian Football League (MFL) could not see eye to eye on the issue of foreign referees officiating the upcoming FA Cup final.
Stuart said the decision to use foreign referees was merely on a trial basis and one which should not be misinterpreted into thinking that FAM was taking lightly issues concerning the development of local match officials.
“When we talk about the final (match), — high match value and intensity it’s not that that we look down on the capabilities of our local officials, but this is a trial, and if we do not do it, there will be supporters who will be upset.
“I think when you have 600 matches yearly and only one features foreign officials, it does not mean we (FAM) take local officiating and its development lightly,” he clarified.
For the record, Perak emerged FA Cup champions in 1990 and 2004, while Kedah won the cup four times, with the last title clinched two years ago. — Bernama