Saddled with increasing arrears amounting to millions of ringgit and mounting overheads, the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) may be looking to sell off their property in Taman Maluri in Kuala Lumpur.
The BAM Council had already approved the proposal to sell off the six-acre land that was given to them on lease by the government back in the 1990s. It was here that the BAM set up their first badminton academy with 10 courts in a joint venture with the Garden International School (GIS) and finance company MBf.
The land was obtained on the efforts of Tan Sri Elyas Omar and Datuk Punch Gunalan, who were the then President and Secretary respectively of the BAM.
Since moving to the Kiara Sports Complex, the entire building and the adjacent field was rented out to GIS and brings in more than RM1 million in rentals to the BAM.
To put the land on sale, the BAM needed the approval of the three Trustees of the land, a safeguard put in to avoid exactly the same scenario.
Former BAM president, Datuk Seri Dr Abdullah Fadzil Che Wan and deputy president Datuk Roland Wong are the remaining two Trustees. Elyas, who was the other Trustee, passed away earlier last month.
This has put a spanner on the efforts, more so as Fadzil is also reportedly suffering from dementia.
It is learnt that the BAM could make in excess of RM70 million if the sales of the property can be concluded.
Stop gap measure?
The funds are expected to be used to offset their growing deficit, operating expenditures, national training and state development costs as well as to start four state academies.
The BAM is expected to spend close to RM 30 million in 2018 and the total private sponsorships will not cover the full amount.
The BAM signed a six-year RM60mil sponsorship deal by appointing Victor as equipment partner for the national team in 2015. They also signed a three-year deal worth RM24mil with network provider Celcom Axiata Berhad in 2016.
BAM’s other source of funding were from various other smaller sponsors, government funding and income from major event ticketing.
Last year’s Audited Statement of Accounts of the association states the total income was RM 17,993,488 and expenditure at RM 23, 501,775 for a deficit of RM5, 508,287 for the year. It was an increase in the arrears of RM3,277,024 the previous year.
The arrears amount is learnt to be the in the region of RM 7 million as of May 2018.
With the current expected cutback of funding from the government as well as the soft sponsorship scenario, the BAM has to look at alternate funding or cut back on their overheads. The current academy in Kiara was to have been sponsored by the government. But, with the current change of government, it still needs to be resolved.
That the Malaysian team failed to make much headway at the recent Thomas and Uber Cup Finals and other major international BWF competitions is a cause for major concern.
The national team’s participation in the various BWF ranking events could also be affected. Whilst the elite players may see a reduction of tournaments, the lower tier and upcoming players are expected to be worse hit.
It is learnt that the participation of the players in the lower tiered events has been cut off drastically as a cost cutting measure.
But, that did not stop the BAM from rewarding more than 20 of their council members for a paid trip to the Thomas-Uber Cup Finals in Bangkok last month. And it was not the first time such trips have been approved for the council members by the council themselves.
The scenario does not augur well for sports in Malaysia. Has the BAM failed to make proper long term budgeting considerations and have simply grown too big for their own good?
The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) was in a similar situation when cigarette sponsorship was outlawed and they were left with a huge disparity in income and expenditure.