The Malaysia Football League (MFL) set to resume its 2020 Malaysian League (M-League) on September 1 with all the competing teams allowed to start training sessions in August after the coronavirus pandemic shutdown.
It was after the MFL’s application to resume competition in August and team training sessions in July was not approved at the Special Ministerial Meeting on the Implementation of the movement control order (MCO) yesterday, the statement said today.
Only the Super League and Premier League matches which would start in September other than the Malaysia Cup matches which would start on Oct 17, would take place while the FA Cup and Challenge Cup were canceled.
However, the fixtures for the Super League and Premier League would be using the new format of halves league introduced by MFL, while a knockout round involving 16 teams would replace the group matches in the Malaysia Cup.
“Changes in the 2020 M-League calendar were based on the decision of the Special Ministerial Meeting on Implementation of the MCO chaired by Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri yesterday. The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) and MFL are using it as a reference in organizing the league for the 2020 season,” said the statement.
The statement noted that the Super League and Premier League competitions would continue from the fifth up to the 11th matches according to the original fixtures.
The Malaysia Cup competition would involve the top 11 teams in the Super League and the top five Premier League teams and would undergo a draw to decide the opening match and the home team.
MFL said the teams would need to follow the M-League standard operating procedure (SOP) for training and matches which would be an issue by FAM and MFL based on the instructions of the National Security Council (MKN), Ministry of Health (MOH) and Youth and Sports Ministry (KBS) as well as guidelines from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and the International Football Federation (FIFA).
Meanwhile, MFL has confirmed that the 2020 M-League would be canceled without any teams being crowned as champion if MKN, MOH, and KBS did not allow the competition to resume in September.
If that happened, the 2019 Super League champion would get an automatic slot to the 2021 Asian Champions League (ACL) while the 2019 Super League runner-up and the 2019 FA Cup champion would get slots to the AFC 2021 Cup, the statement said.
Meanwhile, MFL chief executive officer Datuk Ab Ghani Hassan, in the same statement, said the plan would be reviewed in June based on the current development of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We will monitor the Covid-19 situation and will send another application on the 2020 Malaysian League fixtures planning based on the latest MKN, MOH, and KBS directives in June.
“The MFL will also prioritize the safety of all parties involved, with a more stringent match SOP following the recommendations of MKN, MOH, and KBS, if the 2020 Malaysian League season continues as planned,” said Ab Ghani in the statement.
Ab Ghani noted that the new plans for the M-League calendar also took into account several factors, namely, the 2022 World Cup/2023 Asia Cup qualifiers’ postponement, the 2020 ACL fixtures’ date postponement which involves the Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) team and the new date of the 2020 AFF Cup competition scheduled for November 21 to December 15. — Bernama