Seven teams must settle arrears issues by tonight or face demotion

PETALING JAYA: The fate of seven M-League teams will be known tonight.

Two Super League teams – Melaka and Pahang – and five Premier League sides – Penang, Kuching, Kelantan, UKM and Sarawak United – were given conditional licences by the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) First Instance Body (FIB) on Oct 5 to compete next season.

They have been given a deadline until tonight to provide documents from the Inland Revenue Board, Employees’ Provident Fund and Social Security Organisation over arrears payments or face the consequences of being demoted.

For UKM, they must also provide the status of their management structure. Meanwhile, relegated Felda United have been told to provide documents on their finance for the 2021 season after plantation giants Felda Holdings decided not to fund the team.

One team requested to have the deadline extended but FAM secretary-general Stuart Ramalingam said they are not going to shift the goalpost any more.

“The teams have until Saturday night to submit their documents. Some have completed their submissions and we are currently checking and verifying them. Others have yet to hand in theirs and to be fair they still have time before the deadline.

“A team did ask for an extension but we turned them down because we have given them ample time. It’s not right to use the current Covid-19 pandemic as an excuse.

“We will collect and evaluate the documents from these teams and will make our recommendations to the Malaysian Football League for a decision. We are just the licensing body and the decision lies with MFL.”

Teams who failed to obtain next year’s licence could see themselves playing in the third tier-M3.

Stuart said although the decision will see the top-two divisions having lesser teams, it is better for the M-League stability.

“We see the importance of getting teams who can sustain themselves for the long run. We can’t have teams that just make up the numbers and later on suffer or impact the M-League negatively when they are forced to pull out due to unpaid wages.”

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