The Malaysian Football League (MFL) has confirmed a March 5 start date for the 2021 season, after COVID-19 forced a postponement of the competition.
At an online meeting of the club’s CEOs and MFL Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Datuk Ab Ghani Hassan, all club representatives supported the decision to commence on March 5.
Hassan said that the new competition start date was the best move for the survival of the domestic football industry as well as giving way to the national team which has upcoming 2022 World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup qualifying matches.
The season was originally scheduled to kickoff on February 26.
The MFL CEO also acknowledged that the Malaysian Football League was understanding of the difficulties club face with interrupted preparations to the 2021 season.
“MFL is committed to ending the league campaign with full matches (22 matches) where we do not want to take risks that will affect the sponsorship other than measures to reduce matches or cancel other tournaments such as the Malaysia Cup or Challenge Cup had to be taken if the Malaysia League calendar begins slower,” the MFL said in a statement.
CEO of Kedah Darul Aman (KDA) FC, Khamal Idris Ali was among the club representatives to give a positive response to the March 5 competition start.
“KDA FC accepts this MFL decision and can accept the situation faced by the MFL due to certain unavoidable obstacles,” he said.
“Looking at certain factors such as the national team also needs space to make preparations, we also need to understand the interests of the country and follow the voice of other majority who also agree.
“If followed, the government has given permission for us to train and hold matches, it is enough to have good news in the current situation.
“In the current situation, the team has no choice but to be creative and may use the available space to prepare even in a short period of time.”
As of yesterday, clubs could start centralised training programs in quarantine bubbles – the MFL required players to return a negative COVID-19 test result before being allowed to commence training.