Dell: Saturday night matches to stay


PENANG: The FA of Malaysia (FAM) do not intend to reschedule next year's Super League matches from their present Saturday night slot. 

The FAM secretary general, Datuk Dell Akhbar Khan, said yesterday that despite the sharp decline in turnout for the local matches because of live telecasts of foreign matches, the M-League's Saturday night fixtures were here to stay. 

“Shifting our Super League matches to other days does not seem feasible at the moment as a Saturday night is the most suitable time for the crowd to go out and attend matches,” he said. 

“Fans tuning in to watch foreign football on television does not only affect Malaysia but also Asia as a whole. In fact, the AFC (Asian Football Confederation) general secretary, Datuk Peter Vellapan, has brought up the issue before.” 

He also said that the FAM would deal with the problem in their next council meeting but gave an assurance that no drastic action to deprive the local football fans would be taken. 

“We are not against the live telecasts as they help to promote football on a wider basis and also showcase top quality football to our fans.  

“But there are pros and cons and we want to work out a win-win situation where the future of local football will not be jeopardised,” said Dell. 

He added that the FAM were looking at minimising mid-week M-league matches for next year. 

“If possible, we want the teams to play the league matches just on the weekends and cut mid-week matches as much as possible. However, it depends on the national team assignments next year as well and we may be forced to rely on the mid-week to clear the fixtures,” he said. 

Dell was in Penang to present the FAM's contribution to the family of the late Ali Bakar. 

Dell presented a RM5,000 cheque from the FAM and a RM2,000 personal contribution from the FAM deputy president, Tengku Abdullah Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah. 

Dell presented the cheques to Ali's brother Isa. 

“We have never neglected the welfare of our players, both active and also former internationals,” said Dell. 

“Certain quarters had questioned the FAM's slowness in making the contribution but I had personally stated during Ali's funeral that we will be doing our part to ease the burden on the family and we have kept our word.” 

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