KUALA LUMPUR: Kelantan, already barred from signing players for two transfer windows and facing a docking of points, are now staring at a worse fate.

They may not get a national licence to play in the 2021 M-League if they fail to settle the RM629,620 salary arrears owed to former Brazilian import Cassio Francisco de Jesus (pic) by the end of this month.

Football Association of Malaysia secretary-general Stuart Ramalingam said the FAM Club Licensing First Instance Body (FIB) would look at all aspects, including salary arrears, of all M-League teams this year before issuing national licences that allow teams to feature in next season’s campaign.

“FAM can’t meddle in issues between (world governing body) FIFA and Kafa (Kelantan FA) as the matter has been decided by FIFA. We can only act on the decision made by FIFA.

“For example, if FIFA order for points deduction to be taken against the team involved, FAM have to take action at the domestic level,” he told Bernama.Kafa signed Cassio in December 2017, but the 30-year-old was released before his contract ended in 2019.

Cassio, who later joined Indonesian side Barito Putra, lodged a complaint and FIFA ordered Kafa to resolve his salary issues before the end of this month or face sterner action.

The FAM had previously taken action by deducting three points from Kelantan in the 2019 Super League following the team’s failure to settle RM235,686 in salary arrears owed to former technical director Alfredo Carlos Gonzales.

The Red Warriors are currently lying seventh in the 12-team Premier League with four points after three matches. A further docking of points could see them relegated to the third-tier M3 League.

Meanwhile, Stuart said the reluctance of players to complain directly to the FAM made it difficult for the national body to take appropriate action against teams who failed to settle salary arrears.

He said employers should not use the suspension of the M-League, due to the spread of Covid-19 and the implementation of the movement control order (MCO), as an excuse not to pay players and officials.

“So far, we have not received any complaints regarding salary arrears. Perhaps that’s because talks are going on between the employers and players,” he said.

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