A RM34 million lesson.
That is what the Champions Youth Cup (CYC) could cost. Even more, if there is a penalty clause in what is surely an air-tight contract tournament promoter Gifted Group has with the Sports Ministry.
Former Sports Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said has been blamed, for the CYC was developed and implemented on her watch while successor Datuk Ismail Sabri Yaakob has to figure out how best to salvage a really messy situation.
FA of Malaysia president Sultan Ahmad Shah was firm in his stand that the tournament will not be held in Malaysia and he has his reasons which we must respect.
In fact, the lack of respect shown to FAM is one, though Gifted Group chairman Jonathan Price retracted his earlier decision to give the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) the mandate to handle all technical aspects of the CYC.
The matter has been referred to the Attorney General but whatever his recommendation, this will go down in Malaysian sports history as a costly lesson.
Azalina and the Cabinet Committee for Sports, which endorsed the proposal, has also come in for quite a bit flak.
So has Gifted Group but, other than the mistake of courting the AFC at FAM’s expense for which Price explained his reasons, this is a road we shouldn’t even go down.
Gifted Group is a business entity and it entered a contract for which profit, ultimately, was surely the goal.
The mistake Azalina, the Cabinet Committee and the Sports Ministry made when developing the CYC was leaving FAM out of the picture.
Had FAM, despite the Sports Ministry being the main player here, been involved from the start, the issue wouldn’t have blown up like it has.