Bafa Reinstatement Must For Brunei To Compete, Says AFC Boss
By Jason Thomas
Bandar Seri Begawan - Asian football confederation (AFC) president Mohamed bin Hammam yesterday made it very clear that if the Football Association of Brunei Darussalam (Bafa) is not reinstated, Brunei would face international isolation.
In the country for less than a day, Bin Hammam left yesterday evening after taking a tour of Bafa's headquarters, which is currently under construction, in a strong show of support for the defunct association.
But the pressing issue on everyone's minds was the fate of the facility when it is finished, since Bafa was deregistered from the Registrar of Societies (RoS) on November 15 last year for failing to submit its activity and financial reports as requested, leading to the formation of the Football Federation of Brunei Darussalam (FFBD).
However, Bafa is still recognised by Fifa and AFC as the sole governing body for football in the country, and Bin Hammam was adamant that it would stay that way.
"For the past 50 years there has only been one governing body for Brunei registered with Fifa, and nothing has changed," said Bin Hammam in an exclusive interview with The brunei Times.
Any changes in this regaid must take place during Bafa's congress.
"If they are not reinstated they cannot organise domestic leagues or compete in international tournaments," he warned, making it crystal clear as to where the future of Brunei football lies unless some changes are made soon.
Undoubtedly, the club most affected by Bafa being disbanded was DP MM FC, who were supposed to play in the Malaysian Super League but were barred from playing by the Football Association of Malaysia once it heard the news about Bafa.
But the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) saved their season on February 10 when it unveiled Brunei's premier club as the Singapore League's 12th team for the 2009 season, a decision Bin Hammam was crucial in securing.
"The International Federation of Association Football (Fifa) gave it (FAS) the authority to include DPMM FC in the Singapore League based on the recommendation and approval of AFC," explained Bin Hammam.'As for how long they can compete, on a personal level, I guaranteed their participation until the end of the season.
"I am not sure what will happen after that," he added.
Despite providing the relevant documents to get reinstated on December 22, Bafa's appeal to the Ministry of Home Affairs was deemed unsuccessful two days later.
It is understood that Bin Hammam met Minister of Home Affairs Pehin Orang Kaya Johan Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Hj Adanan Begawan Pehin Siraja Khatib Dato Seri Setia Hj Md Yusof after visiting Bafa's new headquarters.
However, he was tightlipped about the meeting, only saying "that is not for the Press to know".
Dubbed Bafa House and located half a kilometre from the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas over 12 acres of government allocated land, the construction of the multi-purpose headquarters is part of International Federation of Association Football's (Fifa's) Goal Project - which is headed by Bin Hammam.
Taking a tour around the building with architect Frank Chin of consultants Perunding Alamreka Sdn Bhd, Bin Hammam said that he was pleased with the progress of the construction which he said is scheduled to be completed in June.
"This is one of Fifa's projects to develop football and I am happy to see that construction is almost complete," said Bin Hammam.
"Hopefully when it is done in June or so, Fifa president Sepp Blatter and myself will come here to inaugurate it," added the Qatari.
Comments from FFBD were unavailable as calls to the association went unanswered. --
Courtesy of The Brunei Times