Eight million M’sians tune in to watch football

Game on: Customers sitting safely apart while watching football at a restaurant in Petaling Jaya in this file picture.

SOME eight million Malaysians are glued to their television sets whenever football matches are aired, says Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican.

“Football is the most watched sporting event on television. Six to eight million Malaysians, which is almost one-third the population, tune in when games are aired.

“These numbers do not include those who watch post-matches or livestreams, ” he said in reply to a question raised by Nik Mohamad Abduh Nik Abdul Aziz (PAS-Bachok) during the Dewan Rakyat sitting yesterday.

Reezal Merican also noted that the local football league had huge commercial potential as teams in several states had large fan bases.

“For example, Selangor has about 290,000 fans, Kelantan 400,000 and Kedah 640,000. Johor’s JDT has the biggest fan base with over two million. This shows they have a huge captive market, ” he added.

Reezal Merican said this was one reason why the local football league was privatised through the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) and Malaysia Football League in 2015.

He added that privatisation had led to the separation in the administration of sports from respective football associations to the football clubs aimed at increasing competitiveness and professionalism.

He said this was necessary to allow football clubs to take part in the nation’s Super League and Premier League next year, which would in turn allow the clubs to compete in the Asian Football Confederation championships if they qualified.

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