KOTA KINABALU (March 17): A former national and state football player has questioned the refereeing standard in the Malaysia Football League following Sabah FC’s Super League match against Sri Pahang FC last Sunday.
Datuk James Wong said he, like many Rhinos supporters, were furious with the match outcome at Stadium Darul Makmur in Pahang on March 12 which ended 1-1.
Wong particularly pointed out the fouls committed by Sri Pahang FC players that went unpunished by the match officials.
He said both fouls were committed inside the box which could have awarded two penalties to Sabah FC.
“In both cases, the referee was standing near Jafri Chew and Darren Lok when they were shoved to the ground by the home defenders while Sabah FC were on the offensive.
“Anybody who saw the game will agree with me that the referee was standing just outside the penalty box when the fouls were committed, but somehow the referee did not award the penalty.
“Don’t tell me he (referee) is blind and did not see the fouls,” he said on Friday.
Wong added that the result had caused Sabah FC a potential three points and said only the referee knows the real reasons for not awarding the penalties.
To make matters worse, Sabah FC head coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee was shown a red card as he tried to seek explanation from the referee on a decision that went against the team.
Wong therefore called on the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) to look into the matter so that the league could be improved.
“To maintain a good league and keep a good flow of football in order to entertain the fans, match officials must be of high standard.
“We must have quality referees who are able to interpret and enforce the laws of the game during a match, and not just engage those who merely passed their licence, otherwise it is back to the amateur era,” said Wong.