Not dead and buried

PETALING JAYA: There is still hope for Malaysia Cup to go on as scheduled. The Malaysian Football League (MFL) have submitted an appeal to the National Security Council (MKN) for them to resume and complete the Malaysia Cup as planned under a new bubble system.

MFL, the tournament organisers, said they were neither willing to postpone nor call off the tournament as it would cause a major financial setback not only to them, but also the competing teams.

The government had on Monday ordered the competition to be postponed until further notice due to the rising number of Covid-19 cases in the country which led to conditional movement control order (MCO) being imposed on all but three states – Perlis, Kelantan and Pahang.

The MFL are confident that they can still make it a safe tournament for the players, coaches and officials involved by gathering all of them into one designated location by forming a bubble system.

It would resemble the same system used by UEFA for the Champions League where all the matches from the quarter-finals were all being held in Lisbon, Portugal.

The move is certainly seen as a good and feasible alternative as there are only eight teams left in the fray after the completion of the first round matches from Nov 6 to 8.

MFL chief executive officer Datuk Ab Ghani Hassan said they were hopeful for the government to make a U-turn in their decision.

“We are still hopeful that the MKN would consider our appeal to resume the Malaysia Cup with an enhanced standard operating procedure (SOP) that includes conducting the tournament in a centralised and quarantined-based manner, ” said Ghani in a statement after chairing the MFL extraordinary board of directors meeting yesterday.

“For instance, the remaining eight teams can play their quarters, semis and subsequently the final all in one state.

“The losing quarter-finalists and semi-finalists will leave the state as soon as their matches are over.

“The decision to make this appeal was supported by all the eight teams who are ready to compete by complying with the SOP set by MFL and MKN, ” said Ghani.

The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) exco member Christopher Raj also said the postponement of the Malaysia Cup would affect the national football industry as a whole.

“There are sponsorship obligation and teams would need to continue paying their players and officials wages until December (contracts normally end in November). This would incur financial losses to the teams, ” said Christopher.

“Besides, matches will be held behind closed doors and all the players and officials involved have taken swab tests and undergone self-quarantine.”

MFL have also submitted the names of the two-bubble venues – Sultan Muhammad V Stadium in Kota Baru and Darul Makmur Stadium in Pahang – both states were exempted from the conditional MCO.

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