‘Death knell for Dollah’

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PETALING JAYA — The 18-month ban meted out on Pahang coach Dollah Salleh comes across as a draconian penalty that would “effectively kill his career”, howled coaches after the decision taken by the FA of Malaysia (FAM) yesterday.

Dollah, 53, has been suspended 18 months by FAM’s Disciplinary Committee for criticising the referee after a Super League match between Felda United and Pahang on July 1.

This is in contrast with the 12-month ban Johor Darul Ta’zim goalkeeper Farizal Marlias was slapped with by Asian Football Confederation for manhandling match officials during an AFC Cup match on May 31.

“This is harsh. The ban is too long. Just fine him high enough but to ban him from working is ruthless. This is akin to killing a coach’s career. Not fair,” said Terengganu boss Irfan Bakti.

Dollah was handed the sentence after he was found guilty of breaching Article 61 of the FAM Disciplinary Code and Article 88 of the FAM Statute, by making a statement that could tarnish the image and reputation of the association.

Dollah is said to have committed the offence after the Super League match between Felda United and Pahang in Jengka, on July 1.

After the match ended in a 2-1 win for the hosts with the referee awarding a last-minute penalty to Felda which was converted for the winner, Dollah criticised the quality of refereeing in the encounter.

On the guilty verdict, the former Malaysia head coach has been barred from any involvement in footballing activities organised by FAM for 18 months and fined RM30,000.

“Pahang will feel the pain too. This will affect the boys mentally and physically on the pitch,” said Irfan.

According to committee, the ban will only take effect for nine months, as it has also chosen to utilise Article 35 of the FAM Disciplinary Code.

This means Dollah will be suspended until April 20, 2018.

However, he will be on probation for 12 months, and the remainder of the suspension will take effect immediately if he repeats his offence in that time.

Felda United coach B. Sathianathan who is also president of Malaysian Football Coaches Association shared Irfan’s agony.

“It affects his life. Coaching is Dollah’s career and he doesn’t have anything else for financial support.

“I hope Dollah will make an appeal,” he said.

The coaches refused to be drawn into comments there was double standards as former JDT boss Benjamin Mora was not penalised when he criticised the performances of refereers earlier in the season.