Penang FA plead innocence as Reinaldo Lobo goes to FIFA over salary

Penang FA are scrambling to resolve an issue with their former defender Reinaldo Lobo, who has reported them to FIFA as he chases six months unpaid salary.

The Brazilian centre-back has lost patience chasing his money after first seeking a more amicable solution.

But the club, who were relegated from the Malaysia Super League last season, claim they have only recently become aware of the problem and are working to resolve it as soon as possible.

Nevertheless, the player has turned to world football's ruling body in a bid to receive the money he claims he is owed.

"The Penang FA (PFA) did not pay me for six months," Reinaldo told The New Straits Times. "It is a huge amount and PFA's failure to settle it has affected my livelihood.

"I did go to PFA to settle the issue amicably, but they did not respond accordingly. FIFA was my final resort...I had no choice. I have also gone to the FA of Malaysia (FAM) over this matter. I am now waiting for a ruling from both bodies."

PFA trustee and acting president Datuk Abdul Rashid Ismail indicated that the problem had been created by the recent departures of the club's president, deputy president and vice president.

However, he is confident that Reinaldo and other players will soon receive any money that is owed to them.

"We were really unaware of Reinaldo's predicament until of late," Abdul Rashid said. "It is not only him, but the whole team's salaries last month were also not paid. As for Reinaldo, it is six months of salary.

"Since we took over, he has not approached us. We are also aware that he has lodged a complaint with FIFA and FAM.

"We are in the midst of securing a sponsor and looking forward to settling it as soon as possible."

Reinaldo joined Penang in 2015, the year in which they won promotion to the Malaysia Super League (MSL). The 29-year-old announced his departure at the end of the 2017 season, as the club were demoted to the Premier League after just two years in the top tier.

Reinaldo was cut from the first-team squad for the second half of the 2017 campaign, due to injury. But he remained at the club until the end of the season to see out his contract.

The former Mitra Kukar man claims to retain affection for Penang, despite the way things have ended. His bond with the club was most clearly demonstrated when he was in tears as fans congratulated him after the Panthers secured their MSL status with a 1-0 victory over Terengannu in 2016.

However, he resents the treatment he claims to have received following the injury that ruled him out of much of the 2017 season.

"I still love Penang, although they will play in the Premier League next season," Reinaldo said. "Frankly, I am sad with the way they treated me after I got injured."