KUALA LUMPUR, May 22 – Malaysia has been booted out of the Asian Sepak Takraw Federation (ASTAF) with immediate effect from May 20 (Thursday) – paying a heavy price for the folly of Datuk Seri Ahmad Ismail, the president of the Sepak Takraw Association of Malaysia (PSM).
It is another devastating blow for the sport and it comes in the wake of the 15-year ban slapped on Ahmad Ismail for gross indiscipline during the recent ASTAF elections for the 2021-2025 term.
Malaysia failed to win any seat contested in the elections. For the record, Ahmad Ismail was the incumbent ASTAF deputy president.
For the latest – the sack from ASTAF – Malaysia has 14 days to appeal the verdict which was reached by the ASTAF Disciplinary Committee chaired by Yogender Singh Dahaya of India. If PSM decides to appeal it will have to pay a fee of USD2,000.
“It is with utmost sadness that ASTAF made this painful decision, but it has to be done for the good of sepak takraw fraternity. It is also to send a strong signal to the sporting fraternity that irresponsible behavior will not be condoned,” ASTAF said in a statement.
The “Red Card” by the ASTAF Disciplinary Committee came after Ahmad Ismail guilty of breaking the written undertakings to the International Sepak Takraw Federation (ISTAF) and ASTAF on March 2008 – “to support ISTAF and ASTAF to establish and maintain efficient administration” of the two Federations.
Instead, Ahmad Ismail, a politician from Penang, breached the undertakings by writing a letter to the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) with a copy to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in his capacity as ASTAF deputy president on Feb 2.
On the local front, Ahmad Ismail has also been nailed and has been steadily losing support from PSM affiliates who have “lost faith in his leadership” with Kelantan, Johor, Selangor, Kedah, and the latest Putrajaya, together with Perak, Sarawak and Negeri Sembilan pulling out from the national sepak takraw body.
In the ASTAF elections, Halim Kader, who has helmed the Asian body for a decade, fought a three-cornered fight against Ahmad Ismail and Singapore’s Mohd Nasri Haron.
Halim Kader won hands down, securing 30 votes for the 2021-2025 term while Ahmad Ismail and Mohd Nasri failed to get a single vote.
Ahmad Ismail claimed that the elections were rigged and alleged the elections of the new ASTAF office bearers were null and void.

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