Dell: Teams that depend on subsidies should be prepared for changes


BY ERIC SAMUEL

KUALA LUMPUR: The annual grant provided to teams in the M-League is likely to be reviewed after the expiry of Dunhill's contract with the FA of Malaysia (FAM) next year. 

FAM secretary general Datuk Dell Akbar Khan said that with less money in the kitty, they would have no choice but to come up with new plans to work out a solution to sustain the domestic competition. 

“At the moment, we have not seen the light at the end of the tunnel. We have yet to find an alternative source and as such, teams, which depend on subsidies will have to take note and be prepared for a review of the annual grants,'' warned Dell at a press conference after the M-League draw at a hotel here yesterday. 

Club side Negri Sembilan Chempaka were the first casualty of the cash woes, having withdrawn from the competition in Premier I this year due to financial constraints. This has left Premier I with 13 teams while there are 12 teams in Premier II. 

FAM competitions committee chairman Datuk Redzuan Tan Sri Sheikh Ahmad said the number of teams would be further reduced once they overhauled the structure of the M-League next year. 

“We have set up a special committee to work on the new format next year. We will produce the feedback to the council by March,'' said Redzuan, who said state teams and clubs would be judged based on certain guidelines before getting the nod to be included in the proposed single league competition next season. 

He said that besides looking at their position and performances in the league this year, the states and clubs would also be judged based on their financial standings. 

FAM President Sultan Ahmad Shah had also issued a warning to the affiliates during the last council meeting in Penang on Jan 4. he said teams that failed to settle outstanding debts - payments of salaries to players, Employers Provident Fund (EPF) and the taxman – would be barred from the M-League. 

Dell also outlined several other matters during the press conference. They were;  

·All Premier I matches will be played on Saturdays and Premier II on Sundays.  

·The FA Cup matches are scheduled on Wednesdays. Kuala Lumpur will play all their first round matches at home at the KL Football Stadium in Cheras. The second round matches will be played away due to renovations work at the stadium. 

Only players below 33 years of age will be allowed to play in the FAM Cup competitions. 

  • The Milo Cup (Under-18) competition will be played on a carnival basis twice this year. 

  • Newcomers Kelantan JPS, who will be playing in Premier II will have their home matches at the Sultan Ismail Stadium in Kuala Terengganu.  

  • Negri Sembilan will be playing all their home matches in Premier II at the Stadium Hang Tuah in Malacca this season. 

  • The President Cup (Under-22) and Milo Cup (Under-18) boys from the respective state teams are eligible to play in Premier I, II, FA and Malaysia Cup competitions. However, players registered to play in Premier I and II, are not eligible to play in the President's Cup and Milo Cup competitions. 

  • Under-aged players who are registered to play in the President's Cup (Under-22) are eligible to play in the Milo Cup (Under-18). 

  • The closing date for registration of foreign players in the M-League is on July 26. 

  • Teams will only be required to either deposit or provide a bank guarantee of a sum matching 14-months' salary to be paid to a foreigner instead of the fixed rate of RM240,000. 

  • All State teams in the M-League must include two youth players (Under-22) in the starting list while clubs which are not represented in the President's Cup must register four youth players (Under-22). 

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