The Malaysian Sepak Takraw Association (PSM) confirmed that the suspension of two Malaysian players by the International Sepak Takraw Federation (ISTAF) has been lifted.
President Ahmad Ismail said the national body paid a fine of US$2,000 (RM8,304.16) to the ISTAF last Friday to allow ATM Guardians' Afifuddin Razali and Terengganu Turtles' Safaruddin Abu Bakar to be in action for the 2018 Sepak Takraw League (STL) season.
"We have settled the fine for the two players, who are now free from suspension, and the ISTAF have acknowledged receiving the money.
"It is because the two players are involved with the STL and we do not want to affect the league under Astro, and the teams involved also asked me to settle the matter as asoon as possible," he told Bernama.
The two players were among five individuals who were suspended for four months from 1 October 2018 to 31 January 2019 for their action in the 2016 King's Cup final in Bangkok, Thailand.
Including head coach Abdul Talib Ahmad and assistant coaches Rashidi Noridin and Izurin Rifin. they were punished for refusing to play in the second set in protest of the referee's allegedly biased decisions that led to the team's first-set defeat to Thailand two years ago.
The matter got complicated with the ISTAF claiming that the PSM failed to settle the fine, in which the PSM issued a counter-claim that the payment delay was due to the ISTAF's fault.
"The problem was caused by the inefficiency of the ISTAF administration themselves.
"The payment was made on 16 February 2017, but it was only after eight months that the ISTAF cashed the cheque, when it had already expired and was returned," said Ahmad.
As for the fate of the other three individuals, he said the PSM would let them serve the remainder of their suspension as they were not involved in the STL.
"I think rather than wasting money to pay the fine, it is better to proceed with the suspension," he added.