Selangor eager to resume 2020 state league, hold alternative youth competition

At this juncture, only the top two Malaysian tiers are expected to be resumed, in September, following the movement control order period (MCO) caused by the global Covid-19 outbreak.

Although competitions organiser Malaysian Football League's (MFL) directives on the status of Malaysia's top three tiers are clear, with the 2020 M3 League abandoned, the status of the fourth tier and below is rather nebulous.

The 2020 M3's cancellation was done due to the projected costs of holding matches post-MCO, which are expected to be prohibitive, as well as the government's still-enforced ban on public gatherings, with most M3 teams playing at open grounds that make keeping spectators away impossible.

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In the M3 cancellation statement it issued earlier this month, MFL merely recommended that the M4 tier, comprising amateur and state leagues run across the country by state FAs and private organisers, be cancelled as well for the same reasons.

For the time being, the Malaysian government has yet to lift restrictions on contact sports being played at any level, although no-contact training can already be held by teams that satisfy four key health and safety requirements.

But the Selangor state league is just standing by for the restrictions to be lifted so it can resume, said the Selangor FA (FAS) secretary-general Johan Kamal Hamidon.

"Although it is not one of the official M4 competitions, our state league important in terms of development. For example, every team needs to field at least one U-21 player in each match. But in general terms, the sport needs to continue to be relevant in the community and we have an obligation to ensure that the community has a competitive avenue, as long as it is not against the rules.
"We at FAS have told the competing teams that we'd like to continue this year's competitions upon the government's approval, although we may not resume them if the restrictions and SOP (standard operating procedures) are too stringent. For now, we're just keeping our options open until a more concrete directive is issued.

"If the update is positive and the costs of continuing the league are not too high, there is enough time for the competitions to continue. It won't take longer than two months for the league to be wrapped up, so we have until October to make a decision. But if things cannot proceed, I believe these teams will be alright because they don't pay their players at the professional level," he told Goal in a telephone conversation on Monday.

Johan Kamal Hamidon, Selangor, 06082018
Johan Kamal Hamidon, Selangor, 06082018

Johan Kamal. Photo by Zulhilmi Zainal

With the country's U-21 competition, the President Cup, and U-19 league, the Youth Cup alsao abandoned this season by the Malaysian FA (FAM), Johan also revealed a plan to organise competitions for Selangor's youth players.

"Again, this all depends on the government's decision on contact sports and the costs, but we may organise a league for our youth players.

"We may invite good teams to take part in it, maybe M3 teams, because we want our youth players to have game time. We'll see how it goes," he explains.

Johan also revealed that there is a possibility that the Malaysian league may be resumed earlier than its tentative September plan. However, the plan to play only the remaining seven fixtures of the two tiers' 'first half' remains, while the plan to organise a truncated Malaysia Cup may change.

"I was told by MFL that the league may continue in mid-August instead because they want to fit the international calendar, while on our side we are happy that the players won't be overexerted by playing in too many matches in a short period of time," he divulged.

"We would be happy if the league is resumed earlier, because that means we can avoid injury risks to the players."

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