THE Malaysia Super League is facing a new crisis after only seven of the 12 teams competing this year were granted a license to allow them to play in next year’s competition.
The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) confirmed on Thursday that champions Johor Darul Ta’zim, Pahang, Perak, PKNS, Penang, Selangor and T-Team are the seven who have met the FAM club licensing criteria.
Of the seven, Johor Darul Ta’zim, Pahang, PKNS and Selangor were also granted the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) club license, allowing them to compete in the 2018 Champions League or AFC Cup, should they qualify.
The licensing decision means five clubs – Felda United, Kedah, Kelantan, Melaka United and Sarawak – were refused licences to compete in the Super League following their “failure to fulfil the criteria that was required”.
In a statement, the FAM said: “In order for the team to be granted a license they would have to be assessed in six key criteria, namely: sporting, infrastructure, personnel and administration, legal, financial and business, which is stated in the FAM club licensing regulations edition 2017.
“The FAM and AFC club license is valid for one season only for the 2018 season and throughout the season, if any team is found to have violated articles contained in the FAM club licensing regulations edition 2017, or have outstanding cases related to FIFA and AFC, their club license may be withdrawn.”
FAM general secretary Hamidin Mohd Amin did not explain whether there was an appeals process, if there were plans for further teams to join the Super League, or what would happen to those clubs who failed in their bid to secure a license.
Neither was the issue of relegation and promotion between the Super League and 12-team Premier League addressed.
He said: “I, on behalf of the FAM as the licensor, wishes to congratulate the teams that have successfully obtained the respective FAM club license and AFC club license, and acknowledge the efforts of the individuals in their respective teams who have spent time and giving full commitment to ensure their application is successful.
“It has been a landmark year in the continuing development of the club licensing process, with the introduction of mandatory licensing for those clubs seeking to participate in the AFC and Super League competitions for the 2018 season.
“I am also proud of the efforts and commitment of all the teams involved, and it is was a big challenge for the teams to undergo the club license application process for the first time, and they have successfully passed the six key criteria that have been set.”