Sivundaram downplays possibility of 'external elements' influencing referee

KUALA LUMPUR: Referee Zulkarnain Zakaria will be called up by the FA of Malaysia (FAM) referee performance evaluation committee soon as the national body looks to investigate the reasons behind his poor performance.

Zulkarnain was slapped with a season-long suspension by FAM following his performance during the Sabah-Penang Super League match last week in which he was judged to have wrongly awarded two penalties.

Yesterday, FAM president Datuk Hamidin Amin said the national body will conduct a comprehensive investigation into the matter which includes assessing whether any outside interference was involved.

FAM referee performance evaluation committee chairman Datuk S. Sivasundaram said the committee want to hear Zulkarnain's explanation first before taking any further action if necessary.

"We will meet the referee (Zulkarnain) soon to find out why his performance was below par. We want a thorough investigation and will look at various aspects before taking further action," said Sivasundaram today.

"I personally feel that there are no external elements (that influenced) his poor performance.

"We want to find out what went wrong and counsel him. We are here to improve the standard of referees. We have the mechanism to take action if they make mistakes but at the end of the day we want them to improve.

"I need to stress that our committee has always proactively monitored referee assessors' reports. When there are poor performances we conduct our internal inquiries, it's just that we don't publicise them."

Sivasundaram added that referees are not immune to making mistakes on the field but they must strive for improvement.

"Mistakes by referees happen not just in Malaysia but all over the world, it's part of the game. We are committed to getting our referees as close as possible to making zero errors," added Sivasundaram, who is also FAM's deputy president.


KW: Football, FAM, Zulkarnain Zakaria, Datuk S. Sivasundaram

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