Monday, April 27, 2009

MHF - "Money Money Money, In a rich mans world."

One of the top Swedish pop group in the 70s and 80s was ABBA and they had many hits, one of which was "Money Money Money". Therefore when the Deputy President of MHF talked to the main stream media of rewarding players for every match that they win in the Asia Cup, it reminded me of the lyrics of ABBA's song.

The lyrics of the ABBA song is about a person having to pay his bills and finding he does not have any penny left. He dreams of becoming a wealthy man without working, so he can fool around with a ball. Its all about being in a rich mans world.

I do not know whether the Deputy President of MHF is tempting his players to become rich by winning the games, so as they can have a quality of life of a rich man. Of course he was not able to quantify the amounts involved but used Sultan Azlan Shah Tournament as a yardstick, where each player was rewarded with RM 2000 for being a losing finalist. Firstly, why does the Deputy President want to make such issues public. If so, i think it is also incumbent upon him to provide the full information. Here, all he has done is purely to "wet the appetite" of the reporters with some "half baked" news. Does the Deputy President wants to give the impression that he is calling the shots? Maybe as Chairman of the Team Management Committee (TMC), he feels it is his duty. Fair, but the Deputy President "should not shoot himself in the feet" by not having details.

It is strange why such ad-hoc decisions are being made. Is money the main criteria for the team's performance? If so, i think MHF may in fact be giving credentials to the allegations on "match fixing". I know that is not intended but please do not allow it to be misconstrued, as this is being done on a "piecemeal" basis without sound reasons. Why the sudden change, especially without realising the ramifications that may follow.

Even more mind blogging, where is MHF going to get their funds? It is an "open secret" that MHF is yet to pay the prize money of the 2008 Malaysian Hockey League. So, why create all these financial liabilities without a comprehensive outlook. Equally the National Juniors may ask for the same arrangement and maybe the National Under 16, who shall be heading out for the Hanover 4 Nation tournament, may also want to be incorporated into the scheme. After all it is a "rich mans world", why not they too have the "spoils". How right ABBA was!!!!!!

Incentives must not be left "stand alone", rather built into a remuneration package for players taking account of the following:

  • Basic Salary - It must be based on the number of "caps' players have earned. In this manner the more caps players achieve, the higher the basic salary.

  • Training Allowance - Should be based on fulfillment of stipulated benchmarks on fitness levels, criteria on bio-medicine and sports science including drug and alcohol tests.

  • Winning incentives and Defeat penalties - Games where players are entitled to earn caps, there should be an incentive amount for winning and penalty for defeats. There maybe different criteria for qualifying for semi-finals and finals taking account of the category of tournaments.

  • Termination or "dropping" from team clauses - Standard policies and procedures if players do not fulfill some of the benchmarks particularly when it comes to training allowance.

If such a scheme is put into place, it captures the broad areas that a player needs to pay attention and improve himself. The scheme itself becomes a self regulating regime for the players in key areas. This would ensure that players are made to earn their place in the national team and therefore their remuneration. There is no free ride.

MHF has to be far-sighted, not just to "look beyond one's nose". It is the ad-hoc decision that complicate matters. It may provide some temporary solution but in the long run it would create bigger issues. It is fundamental for MHF to get down to strategic planning, if there is a genuine interest to ensure Malaysian hockey succeeds. Essentially changing the mind set of players and officials.

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