This is not another Kollywood flick — Haresh Deol

DOUBLE STANDARDS: Members of the international and local press were segregated at the media box during the Malaysia-FC Barcelona match. — Picture by Haresh Deol
DOUBLE STANDARDS: Members of the international and local press were segregated at the media box during the Malaysia-FC Barcelona match. — Picture by Haresh Deol

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AUG 12 — “Take my number down. We can meet outside. I’m not scared.”

That was not a scene from the famous gangster Tamil movie “Pudhupettai” nor was it a conversation overheard outside a pub.

Those were the words of a security personnel manning the VIP lift entrance at the Shah Alam Stadium on Saturday.

Mr Moustache, who spewed such rudeness, went on to push fans and members of the Press into an already packed small lobby area at the ground floor.

His colleague, a scrawny young chap who folded up his short sleeved T-shirt presumably to show off his minute tattoo on his upper arm, joined in to mock fans and members of the Press.

KLFA president Datuk Astaman Abdul Aziz witnessed it first hand. The former Setiawangsa MP, who is also the FA of Malaysia (FAM) referee committee chairman, had to raise his voice against the security detail before he was allowed out.

Clearly frustrated, he described the whole episode as “stupid”.

Apparently, a security guard had the audacity of asking a fan for money if he wanted to sit in the VIP area.

Perhaps the security personnel on duty were confused, thinking they were at a Mixed Martial Arts show.

The Malaysia-FC Barcelona match was forgettable.

Journalists exposed to bigger events including international friendly matches, pre-World Cup and Asian Cup qualifiers raised eyebrows when they stepped into the stadium.

There was a segregation of seating and standing areas between the international and local media.

Even a Spanish reporter was dumbfounded, adding it was the first time he had seen such a divide.

Nevertheless, the international and local journos were united in their grouse over the poor wifi connection.

Fans, who forked out RM688 for a VIP ticket, were forced to stand outside their designated area.

There were already grouses as the local press were snubbed the moment the Catalan team arrived in KL on Thursday.

It didn’t help where some, who claimed to be pressmen, had the audacity to request autographs during a press conference — a humiliating episode for sports journalists.

Then it was suddenly decided that the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil was unfit for the highly-paid Barca players.

It is baffling why such a decision was made at the eleventh hour despite calls that the pitch was never fit in the first place.

Barcelona sent its officials to inspect the pitch. They knew the conditions were poor and if it was unfit, they should have re-evaluated it the day the team arrived and made a decision then.

It also screamed double standards. Would a similar request be approved if it involved two M-League teams?

Fans grumbled, showed their dissatisfaction by jeering as the Barcelona players left the field. None of the players acknowledged the crowd, they did not even attend the post-match press conference.

They claimed they had a plane to catch. However, the Barcelona players only left the stadium minutes after the press conference.

The bad publicity, especially on social media, will not go down well with the sponsors. It’s a shame it happened but it did.

Parties involved in the fiasco must shoulder the responsibility. Even a Malaysia Cup final, with a sellout crowd, is organised in an orderly manner.

To Mr Moustache and his scrawny sidekick, perhaps we could all meet up for some rawa thosai and learn a thing or two about manners, professionalism and banter about Tamil superstar Dhanush’s role as Kokki Kumar in “Pudhupettai”.

* Haresh Deol is a news editor with The Malay Mail. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @HareshDeol

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malay Mail Online.

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