|By Teng Kiat
The Asean Football Federation (AFF) recently announced its plans to create an Asean Super League (ASL) in 2015, which was revealed by Duli Yang Teramat Mulia Tengku Abdullah ibni Sultan Ahmad Shah, the deputy president of the Football Association of Malaysia and vice-president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) executive committee.
This was announced at the inaugural 2013 AFF Awards last week, where Tengku Abdullah confirmed the approval of the launch in two years’ time.
Such a competition would require substantial financial backing, and a Uefa insider has claimed that the ASL will be “backed financially by WSG and Tony Fernandes (Air Asia CEO)”.
“The AFF have all signed up to it [the ASL],” the insider said.
“I don't think the AFC has approved it yet – [they will] probably [do so] after the election [in May].”
Sixteen representative teams from the eight leagues in the Asean region, namely, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines, Cambodia and Myanmar, are expected to be involved, although no details have been revealed as yet.
“There are no firm plans on format or scheduling except it will run from February to October, so it must be alongside the national leagues,” the insider continued.
“In Malaysia there will be three clubs, so I assume [it will be] the same for Thailand.”
The insider went on to express surprise that the ASL received support from the various countries, given its potential impact on domestic football.
“It [ASL] probably will have a negative effect on local leagues – that’s why I am surprised the SEA federations backed it,” the insider stated.
Tengku Abdullah had mentioned that the ASL would be based on a franchise concept, and the insider revealed a bit more on how that would work.
“Franchise is where they operate a closed league - and the team has a guaranteed position - like the US system,” the insider explained.
“The ‘Super League’ is just a name or marketing brand."