Southeast Asia Malaysia

FIFA Orders Pahang to Cough Up the Dough in Sumareh Debacle

FIFA have ordered the Pahang Football Association to pay approximately US$1.2 million (4.9 million Malaysian ringgit) to their former player Mohamadou Sumareh. The decision was made after the world governing body of football had gone through the complaint filed to them by Gambia-born Sumareh, who alleged that his former employers had failed to pay his wages based on the agreement that the two parties had settled upon.

Naturalized Malaysian winger Sumareh had stirred up quite the controversy since the restart of the 2020 Liga Super Malaysia season in August of last year. The 26-year old refused to join Pahang FA for the remainder of their 2020 campaign before cutting all ties with the Tok Gajah, opting to spend the rest of the 2020 season at Thai League 1 side Police Tero instead. Sumareh had accused Pahang of failing to pay his wages according to the contract that he had agreed upon with the club.

According to the New Straits Times, Sumareh’s contract with Pahang stipulates an increase of US$5,000 (20,362 Malaysian Ringgit) per annum after his second year with the club. However, according to Sumareh, Pahang have yet to pay out the additional money that came with his wages, meaning that Sumareh’s salary remained the same throughout his three year tenure with the Tok Gajah.

FIFA revealed that the US$1.2 million was comprised of the accumulation of annual increments that Pahang are owing Sumareh and the fees Pahang must pay Sumareh for the breach of his contract for 2020 and 2021. Should Pahang pay out the money, Sumareh will receive the highest amount of settlement ever received by a player in the M-League, eclipsing the 629,620.28 Malaysian Ringgit paid out by Kelantan FA to Barito Putera’s Cassio de Jesus for the breach of his contract.

The New Straits Times revealed that Pahang has 10 days to ask FIFA regarding the grounds behind their decision and 45 days to settle the outstanding payment to Sumareh. The Tok Gajah are also able to appeal FIFA’s decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which would postpone the 45 day-payment period. Failure to pay Sumareh the US$1.2 million would result in Pahang being punished with either a registration ban for the next transfer window or a points deduction.

According to Bernama, the Pahang management have chosen to exercise their right to appeal FIFA’s decision to CAS on Saturday. Pahang, under their newly-rebranded guise of Sri Pahang FC, have received the letter regarding the decision from FIFA on Tuesday and they have handed the letter over to their lawyers for further action.

Having just made 4 appearances with Police Tero in the 2020-21 Thai League 1 season, Sumareh is now back in Malaysia after his short-term contract with the Silver Shield Dragons has ended and it seems likely that the winger will head South to join 7-time Liga Super Malaysia champions Johor Darul Ta’zim in the next coming few days.