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Friday, December 16, 2011

Super 12 from 2013

New Straits Times

THE Super League will be reduced to 12 teams and the Malaysia Cup expanded to 24 sides as the FA of Malaysia (FAM) moved to restructure the domestic competitions  from 2013 to 2016.   

In stating that fewer teams in the top-flight will lead to more competitive and quality matches, FAM competitions committee chairman Datuk Hamidin Amin said the move is necessary to enable Malaysian football to continue its upward swing following the recent successes of various national teams.

   "Every four years we undertake a review of the M-League and we believe that reducing the Super League to 12 teams will lead to more quality matches. We want teams that have good finances, management and performances in the Super League.

   "Only a few teams meet this standard which is why we took the decision to restrict the Super League to 12. This move had been planned for over a year and we wanted the change to happen in 2012.

   "But because we could not give teams early notice, we deferred the changes to 2013. All the participating teams have agreed to this and the question of whether it is fair or not should not arise," said Hamidin at a press conference following the conclusion of a three-day briefing for M-League teams in Shah Alam yesterday.

   The changes mean the bottom team in the 2012 14-team Super League will be automatically relegated, to be replaced by the Premier League champions, while the teams in 11th to 13th places will enter promotion-relegation playoffs with the Premier League runners-up.

   The playoffs take place at the conclusion of the Super League with home-and-away semi-finals followed by a home-and-away final. The winner of the finals take the 12th and final spot in the new Super League.
   Singapore LionsXIII are  excluded from the relegation process -- they will remain in the Super League irrespective of their final position -- under the terms of the agreements between the FAs of Malaysia and Singapore which also see Young Tigers A competing in the S-League.

   The Premier League will be maintained at 12 teams but with two additional teams coming down, two teams will be automatically relegated to the third-tier FAM League with only the FAM Cup champions coming up from the other direction.

   Teams eighth to 10th will enter a playoff with the FAM League runners-up to fill two vacancies. As with the LionsXII, the Young Tigers B (national Under-19) team are not eligible for promotion and cannot be relegated.

   The 2013 Malaysia Cup will be opened to all 24 teams in the Super League and Premier League with the team split into six groups of four. The top team in each group and two best runners-up advance to the quarter-finals.

   At present, the Malaysia Cup is restricted to the top 12 from the Super League and top four from the Premier League.

   Opening up the competition leaves FAM exposed to charges of diluting the prestige of the country's oldest tournament but Hamidin said this is an attempt to keep all M-League teams engaged until the end of the season.

   "At the moment we have a situation where players from teams that do not qualify for the Malaysia Cup are being paid salaries without playing. We want to keep all the teams active until so that all the players can play until the end of the season," he said.

   "After 2016, we will undertake a review of the M-League and if the structure is deemed satisfactory, we will continue with it, if not then we will change it again."
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