PUTRAJAYA: The comeback of football fans at stadiums is getting closer to reality.
Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican said a proposal will be presented to the National Security Council (NSC) on allowing up to 4,000 spectators at Malaysia football league matches next week.
"We saw the success of organising Super League and Premier League matches last weekend.
"The protocol and standard operating procedures have been adhered to well.
"And seeing that MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions, exhibitions) events are now allowed, and even cinemas can reopen, I do not see any reason not to allow spectators to be at stadiums," said Reezal to reporters here Monday (March 8).
He said the ministry will have a meeting with the Malaysian Football League (MFL) on Thursday to finalise the SOP and protocols for allowing spectators at stadiums.
Reezal added that the results of the meeting would then be presented to an NSC technical committee for endorsement.
He said the Ministry will first propose to allow 10% capacity of stadiums to be filled, or 4,000 spectators - whichever is lower.
"I am confident that football fans out there who are yearning to return to stadiums will fully comply with the SOP," he said.
Reezal said if the proposal is approved, the ministry will probably start allowing spectators at one or two stadiums first, for starters.
"I want to establish a 'proof of concept' first to convince the Health Ministry first that our SOP can work. This is so we can then use this template at other venues. I'm hoping it will be very soon," said Reezal.
Reezal said the return of fans will liven up the atmosphere at football matches, which is much needed.
"I watched Penang's first league match last week. It was good to see football matches return, but to be honest, the atmosphere was dire. It would be better with fans," he said.
Sports and recreation activities have been fully permitted after the end of the second movement control order on March 4.
However, they can only be allowed with strict Covid-19 SOP in place, including restrictions on spectators.