KUALA LUMPUR: The restart of the Malaysia League (M-League) has been postponed from Aug 26 to Aug 28, the Malaysian Football League (MFL) announced after its 22nd Board of Directors’ meeting on Tuesday.
MFL president Datuk Ab Ghani Hassan said the decision was made after taking into account several factors, including the recent announcement by the International Football Federation (FIFA) and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) on the postponement of the remaining matches in the 2020 World Cup/2023 Asian Cup qualifiers due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Also taken into account were the involvement of reigning Super League champions Johor Darul Ta’zim in the Asian Champions League, which is set to resume in October, and the postponement of the 2020 Asian Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup.
Ab Ghani believes that the postponement would give the teams longer rest periods between matches.
“What is certain is that following the postponement of the Asian qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup, MFL now has additional back-up dates from Nov 10 to 29 in case of complications due to the pandemic in our country,” he said in a statement yesterday.
Meanwhile, Ab Ghani also confirmed that the bottom two teams in the 2020 Premier League would not be relegated after the Amateur Football League (AFL) decided to call off the 2020 M3 League (previously known as the FAM League) due to the pandemic.
However, the current M-League format would remain unchanged next season, with the bottom two teams in the Super League dropping to the Premier League while the champion and runner-up of the 2020 Premier League will be promoted to the 2021 Super League.
Ab Ghani revealed that MFL had also rescheduled the dates for the Malaysia Cup, the country’s oldest football competition.
The round of 16 matches will begin from Oct 16 to 18, followed by the quarter-finals on Oct 24-25, semi-finals (Oct 30-31) and final on Nov 7.
Prior to the M-League restart, two postponed matches will take place on Aug 22.
One is the Super League clash between Petaling Jaya City FC and Terengganu FC at the Petaling Jaya City Stadium in Kelana Jaya and the other being the Premier League tie between UKM FC and Kelantan at the Selayang Stadium.
Meanwhile, the MFL has yet to decide on the home venues for Kuching FA and Sarawak United FC following the recent Covid-19 outbreak in Kuching.
“Regarding the Kuching FA and Sarawak United venues, it will be announced in the near future,” MFL said in the statement.
The M-League has been postponed since March 16 due to the pandemic. — Bernama