Malaysia League to start in February

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysia League is set for a return next February with Super League holders Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) taking on Kedah in the season-opening Charity Shield on Feb 26.

The Charity Shield normally pits the league winners against the Malaysia Cup or FA Cup of the previous season, but Kedah were handed the other berth this time by virtue of being the Super League runners-up.

Both the Malaysia Cup and FA Cup were cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

MFL chief executive officer Datuk Ab Ghani Hassan said both the Super League and second-tier Premier League fixtures would run from Feb 17-Aug 21, while the FA Cup and Malaysia Cup have been scheduled from March 2-Sept 11 and Sept 17-Nov 27 respectively.

The Challenge Cup, which is a tournament contested by teams who had failed to qualify for the Malaysia Cup, will take place from Sept 3-Nov 14.

“All teams will have 12 weeks to register their squads from Nov 21-Feb 14 for the first window, and July 12-Aug 8 for the second, ” said Ab Ghani in a statement.

Ab Ghani added that the MFL had taken the international breaks and continental club tournaments into consideration in ensuring a smooth organisation of M-League competitions for next season.

The national team are bracing for a hectic schedule with the resumption of the 2022 World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup qualifications in March, as well as the postponed AFF Suzuki Cup (April 11-May 8).

The national youth squad, meanwhile, will compete in the AFC Under-19 Championships from March 3-20.

“The MFL competitions calendar is still subject to changes in the event FIFA, AFC or AFF made change to the competitions sanctioned by them, ” said Ab Ghani.

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