2020 Malaysia League battle begins tomorrow


THE 2020 Malaysia League (M-League) football competition will kick off with the Charity Shield match between Super League defending champions Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) and 2019 FA Cup champions Kedah tomorrow.

The winners of the match at Sultan Ibrahim Stadium at Iskandar Puteri, Johor will collect three points in the Super League table.

The clash of the two local football giants will be taking place at the spanking new RM200 million stadium, the official home ground of JDT.

The Super League competition this season will feature 12 teams, including newcomers Sabah and Universiti Teknologi Mara Football Club (UiTM FC).

Sabah returns to Super League after emerging as 2019 Premier League champions, while UiTM FC has created history by becoming the first higher education institution to appear in the league which was introduced in 1996.

The Premier League commencing on Feb 29 will retain its 12 teams format, including two new sides which are feeder clubs, Selangor II and Perak II to spice up the contest for the two promotion slots to the Super League next season.

Selangor II and Perak II were respectively known as PKNS FC and PKNP FC which have been rebranded following a restructuring by the Selangor Football Association and Perak Football Association.

Apart from the two teams, two other development club sides in the Premier League are JDT II and Terengganu FC II.

While the 24 teams are raring to go in the 2020 M-League, the issue of salary arrears may continue to plague teams who are not financially savvy.

Local football analyst, Datuk Richard Scully said weak financial management and overspending on import players could bring down a good team.

Richard, who is a coach educator and a talent scout for the National Football Development Programme, stressed that the 24 teams could not solely depend on broadcasting revenue for their survival in the league season.

“The entry of Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM) as Malaysia League official broadcaster and sponsor of Malaysia Cup could help defray some expenses, but individual teams should look into their own sources of funds such as marketing club products. Malaysia Football League and TM inked the deal on Feb 7.

Other major sponsors are CIMB Bank Bhd (Super League) and Shopee (FA Cup) to help ease the expenditure to manage the league this season.

The M-League will involve the Super League, Premier League, FA Cup, Challenge Cup and Malaysia Cup.