PETALING JAYA: It’s no April Fools’ joke, fans are set to return to sporting events albeit in two selected locations for a start.
In an announcement yesterday, the Government has allowed up to 8,000 people or 25% of the stadium capacity, whichever is lower, to support their teams from April 1 for states under the recovery movement control order.
Those under the conditional movement control order, up to 2,000 spectators or 10% of the stadium capacity or whichever that is lower, are allowed.
The decision comes just a year after all stadiums were closed to fans due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican however said that for a start they had identified two trial locations – the Sultan Ibrahim Stadium in Johor Baru and the Kuala Lumpur Football Stadium in Cheras.
“Two football matches in the Malaysian Football League (MFL) will be allowed first as a trial to evaluate the effectiveness of the audience management protocol, ” said Reezal.
Sultan Ibrahim Stadium will host the match between Johor Darul Ta’zim and Melaka on April 2 (Friday) while Kuala Lumpur will entertain Sabah on April 3 (Saturday).
“Neat planning need to be made by MFL and clubs or venues involved in the near future for preparation for the date and stadium that has been determined.
“Welcome to the stadium, 12th players! We still have not won. Ensure safety and compliance of SOP at all times for our benefit, ” added Reezal.
Meanwhile, Malaysia Football League chief executive officer Datuk Ab Ghani Hassan was happy that there would no longer be deafening silence in the stadiums.
“We would like to record our appreciation to the government on allowing spectators to enter the stadium. This decision will inject life into the league and clubs, ” said Ab Ghani.
“The last time fans were allowed was before the MCO in March last year. It has been quiet for a year now without the cheers of the spectators.
“This decision is much awaited and welcomed, ” he added.