Newly elected Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) general-secretary Stuart Ramalingam is the ideal fit to work alongside president Datuk Hamidin Amin and take Malaysian football forward, opined Asian Football Confederation (AFC) general-secretary Datuk Windsor John Paul.
Stuart was handpicked by Hamidin to succeed him as general-secretary a day after becoming president on July 14, and Windsor felt the appointment was spot on judging by Stuart’s experience in Malaysian and international football.
“Stuart is a football guy, he is not a bureaucrat. He has got international experience at a young age, having worked with FIFA, as well as FAM and AFC. This gives him a rounded eye on the whole works of football,” Windsor told FOX Sports Malaysia.
“But Stuart has got a good eye not only for football, but also bridging the business of football. If the game is not marketed well, it can’t grow. Hamidin needs someone who can think about this and work with him to put the right policies in place. Stuart is that man.”
“He has had a fair share of experience working in international football organizations. That is something not found easily in people. Hamidin has the technical football experience, and Stuart is business oriented. That is a good recipe for both men to do well in FAM.”
At 31, Stuart was already a professionalisation consultant to FIFA.
He is also no stranger to the Malaysian football fraternity, having been appointed as the Malaysia Super League chief executive officer for almost three years (2010-2012).
The 41-year-old then went on to assume various roles with the AFC as Club Competitions Director, Marketing Director and Social Responsibility Director.
Stuart’s analytical and intricate approach ended up with him being courted by international sports marketing agency Dentsu Sports, where he headed the Malaysian office and served as vice-president of Dentsu Sports Asia.
While some may question Stuart’s appointment with his brother Kevin Ramalingam also at helm at the Malaysia Football League as chief executive officer, Windsor says there is no conflict of interest.
“Both of them report to different people, so I don’t see a conflict. They are not fighting for the same territory. Kevin is in charge of the league, while Stuart will oversee national football matters such as grassroots development.”
“They are both qualified individuals, and if they have received endorsements from their respective employers, they need to prove themselves and deliver.”
“Malaysian football is not in a terrible situation you have to remember. If they are, the junior teams won’t be winning. Hamidin and Stuart will need to review FAM’s priorities as they do not have a huge bank account. A lot of work needs to be done at the youth competition level too.”
Hamidin also justified his appointment of Stuart.
“Stuart is seen as the most suitable candidate to become the FAM General Secretary and is believed to be able to bring the corporate culture that will be a positive change to FAM,” said Hamidin through a statement.
“As president of FAM, I really hope he can carry out his duties with utmost professionalism and full of conviction in order to elevate the nation’s football.”
Stuart will begin in his new role on Monday.