Crown Prince of Johor allowed to run for FAM presidency by father

Tunku Sultan Ismail has been nominated as the next man to lead Malaysian football after 14 affiliates from Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) pledged their support to his father Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar at a closed door meeting ahead of next month's elections.

The FAM officials had converged at the royalty's Istana Pasir Pelangi to officially endorse the Crown Prince of Johor, otherwise known as TMJ, for the FAM presidency, and were given nod from the senior monarch.

"We want to see TMJ lead FAM," Melaka United affiliate Datuk Wira Yusoff Mahadi told NST Online.

"We are here to show our support to see him make changes within FAM. There is no other more suited candidate to lead the national body to a higher level than him."

"At the end of the meeting, his Dad granted him the approval, which TMJ has also agreed to take on the mantle at the elections."

TMJ's main rival at the national body's election on Mar. 25 could come in the form of former Kelantan president Tan Sri Annuar Musa, who also confirmed his challenge to take charge of Malaysian football.

Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin and Putrajaya Corporation president Tan Sri Aseh Che Mat are the other candidates in the running before FAM finalises its contenders by Feb. 13.

But both men are likely to rule themselves if TMJ confirms his participation.

The Johor Darul Ta'zim owner has been a vocal critic of the national body's organisation and decision-making, and is one of the key reasons why the elections were brought forward to this year from 2018.

TMJ had previously ruled himself out of the running on numerous occasions, insisting that he still has plenty to deliver for Johor football.

The firebrand royalty could, however, have a change of heart with the majority of the affiliates placing their trust in him.

The Football Association of Sabah, Sarawak, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Terengganu, Kedah, Perlis, Felda United, ATM FA were among those who attended the meeting on Monday.

Also showing their support were the Chinese, Malay, Indian Football Associations, as well as the Football Coaches Association of Malaysia.

The football-mad nation is in dire need of a football revolution after sliding down to 161st in the FIFA world rankings, guided by an organisation that has been accused of lacking in professionalism.

The incumbent president, Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, has publicly washed his hands of the post, and hasn't attended any FAM functions in a year.