Scott Ollerenshaw: Analysing fair play in Malaysian football

Recently, Selangor played JDT at the Shah Alam Stadium in a Super League Match. The match itself was a great advertisement for the Malaysian Super League; two teams displaying fantastic attacking football, tactical awareness and there were numerous goal scoring chances.

With Selangor leading 1-0 in the second half, their goalkeeper Norazlan Razali clattered into his own player, Azmi Muslim, who then laid motionless on the ground. Johor DT gained possession and from the ensuing attack, scored the equalizer and the game ended 1-1.

Photo Credit:
Photo Credit:

After the game, Selangor officials and fans were very vocal with their displeasure at Johor DT, claiming they should have kicked the ball out in the name of fair play.

My question is: “Why did the referee not stop the game, and why was he not criticized for not stopping the game?”

I agree that the game should have been stopped by the referee, but not by Johor DT as the rules state nothing about players kicking the ball out when a player goes down injured.

As it turned out, Azmi Muslim was legitimately injured and was taken to the hospital after the game.

Two of the biggest names in football; Sir Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho, have openly stated that they instruct their players not to kick the ball out when opposing players go down injured.

Photo Credit: Jose Mourinho
Photo Credit:

Lets be brutally honest here. How often do we see a Malaysian football team leading 1-0 or 2-1, and their players going down like they’re getting shot at in the last 15 minutes or so. They get stretchered off and miraculously jump straight up and run back onto the field to carry on playing. The two minutes of time off allowed their players to rest physically and re-organize themselves for the next section of play. And then suddenly, as pressure builds from the opposition team, another player goes down injured, gets stretchered off and then runs back onto the pitch to continue playing

Is this fair play? No, it’s not. It’s blatant cheating.

This is precisely why FIFA needs to come out and publicly state that it’s the referee’s job to stop the game and players should continue playing unless the referee blows his whistle when he feels a player has had a head injury, as per the rules of football.

I am all for fair play but this part of the game is a massive grey area, whereby it’s difficult to work out the legitimacy of an injury in the heat of battle. I expressed my opinion on Twitter and was abused by Selangor fans. But that’s okay, I am a big boy and can handle abuse on social media.

Photo Credit: Selangor FA
Photo Credit: Selangor FA

I’m certainly not biased against Selangor, Mehmet Durakovic is one of my closest friends in football and we go back a long time, from our stint in the Australian national team as well as our battles in Malaysia when Sabah and Selangor were flying high. I’ve spoken to Mehmet on the issue and there’s certainly no problems between us in this subject.

Peter Butler and I have a love/hate relationship – we have been friends, enemies and friends again, but when Peter coached in Malaysia, he came out and publicly stated that his men would not kick the ball out when an opposition player went down injured. In this instance, I agree with him. By stating this publicly, any team playing against Peter’s team, would know that there was no point in faking injury as his team would simply carry on playing.

With this in mind, what is stopping current M-League coaches, who have the same opinion on this subject, from making a similar statement to the public? Lets get it out there in the open, to avoid any future misunderstandings. For legitimate injuries, especially head injuries, let the referee do his job and stop the game. However faking injury is a cancer to football, a cancer that needs to be eradicated from the beautiful game.


I encourage all football loving fans to watch this brand new documentary – THE ABBAS SAAD STORY.

Anyone who knows me well knows my attitude to match fixing. It is the lowest of the low and is an issue that I feel very strongly about. Much to my horror, I saw six of my teammates being handcuffed and led away in 1995 so I know all about the devastating effects that match-fixing can have on families, teams and football in general.

Abbas Saad has been one of my closest friends in football and we’ve known each other for almost 32 years now, since were kids playing youth football against one another. If I believed in my heart that he was guilty of match-fixing, he would NOT be my friend today.

But hey, that’s just my opinion. Watch the documentary and make up your own mind.

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