Five Super League teams – Terengganu, T-Team, Sabah, Kuala Lumpur and Felda United – will begin their campaigns in the 2012 season, which starts on Jan 10, in the afternoon.
The FA of Malaysia (FAM) made the decision yesterday after the home venues of these teams either failed to meet the specifications for flood lighting or pitch condition for the M-League.
According to regulation, flood lighting must have a minimum illumination reading of 800 lux.
The concerned venues are the Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah Stadium (Kuala Terengganu) and Likas Stadium while the KLFA Stadium, the home venue of KL, is closed for repairs. KL will play their home matches at the Hang Jebat Stadium.
Other stadiums, which failed to meet the requirements for lighting were the City Stadium, Batu Kawan Stadium (Penang), Selayang Stadium (KL), Hang Tuah Stadium and the Hang Jebat Stadium (Malacca).
The KLFA Stadium, along with the Larkin Stadium and Shah Alam Stadium, which are all under repairs, are expected to re-open in March or April while the Darulaman Stadium will only host M-League matches after the Malaysia Games in July.
FAM local competitions committee chairman Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin, however, said the concerned teams could appeal over the committee’s decision within the seven days.
“Overall, we are happy with the condition of the M-League venues. Some State FAs took the initiative to get their stadiums ready for the league,” said Hamidin after chairing the competitions committee meeting at Wisma FAM in Kelana Jaya yesterday.
Hamidin is also confident that the league would run smoothly without major disruptions.
“We took into account Fifa’s window for international matches and also the commitments of our national teams before drafting the fixtures.
“This season’s schedule is tight but if the association receives attractive offers from world class teams, for example Brazil, for international friendlies, we will look into them carefully before deciding the next course of action,” said Hamidin.
On whether FAM would extend the registration of foreign players, Hamidin said the association had decided not to entertain it.
“Teams, who want to register and drop players, can only do so during the transfer window period on April 2-16. Two foreign players - Lelo Mbele (Selangor) and Daniel Soares Neves (Kedah) have yet to get their respective International Transfer Certificate but both would be issued one on Jan 7 through the assistance of Fifa.
FAM received applications from 26 import players for the league and nine were rejected due to various reasons.
Hamidin also revealed that Young Tigers B will skip the FA Cup for two international tournaments.
Tigers B, comprising the national Under-19 players, will compete in a three-nation tournament in Singapore and Brunei’s Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy, both in February.
“Cambodia’s Preach Khan Reach FC have replaced Tigers B in the FA Cup and they face Penang in the first round on Feb 18,” he said.
FAM also paid out incentives and grants amounting to RM5.167 million to M-League teams on Dec 28.
“This payout is for last season. As for now, we do not owe State FAs and other affiliates money. However, I would like to advise them to use the sum to settle their dues,” added Hamidin.
M-League (2012) facts:
Prize money — Super League: RM750,000 (Champions), RM450,000 (runners-up), RM300,000 (third placing); Premier League: RM300,000 (Champions), RM150,000 (Runners-up), RM75,000 (third placing);
Ticket prices — FA Cup and Malaysia Cup finals: RM40, Charity Shield: RM15 (open), RM30 (grandstand).