New-look league will be back in September

PETALING JAYA: The M-League will make its return in September behind closed doors with several changes to the season which was suspended on May 16 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Malaysian Football League (MFL) said the Super League and Premier League will begin on Sept 1-2 and are expected to end on Sept 26-27, with the matches being played in a single round. The Malaysia Cup will begin on Oct 17-18 and end with the final on Nov 7. The FA Cup has been cancelled.

The Malaysia Cup will have 16 teams – 11 from the Super League and five from the Premier League – competing in a knock-out format. The group stage of the competition has been scrapped for this season.

M-League teams will be allowed to return to training in August in accordance with the standard operating procedure (SOP) which will be issued by the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) and MFL in line with advice from the Health Ministry, Youth and Sports Ministry, National Security Council (NSC) and also in accordance with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and FIFA.

However, if the Covid-19 situation doesn’t improve in September or if the government doesn’t allow the M-League to resume, the 2020 M-League will be cancelled and qualification for the AFC club competitions for the 2021 season will be decided by merit with the 2019 Super League champions qualifying for the AFC Champions League. The 2019 FA Cup winners will get the 2021 AFC Cup slot.MFL chief executive officer (CEO) Datuk Abdul Ghani Hassan said the plans will be reviewed in June.

“We will monitor the situation and will apply for the 2020 M-League schedule following the latest update from the NSC, Health Ministry and also the Youth and Sports Ministry in June, ” said Abdul Ghani.

“The MFL takes the safety and well-being of all the parties involved during matches seriously. The plans for the M-League and the SOP were presented to Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican on April 23.”

Abdul Ghani said the MFL needed to take into account the sheer number of people involved in the football industry and the impact on the No. 1 sport in the country if the M-League is cancelled.

“We know that a lot of people rely on Malaysian football economically, this is why the MFL are positive in restarting the M-League.

“We acted proactively before this when we held matches behind closed doors on March 14 and 15. We also suspended the FA Cup on March 16, two days before the government announced the movement control order (MCO).”

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