BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
M-League organiser Football Malaysia LLP (FMLLP) has announced its plans to kick off the Malaysian fourth and fifth tiers, which will comprise amateur teams across the country.
In a briefing held at its headquarters in Damansara, Selangor on Tuesday, chief executive officer Kevin Ramalingam outlined a 10-year plan for the two tiers, which will improve its standards over the years.
According to him, its most immediate implementation will see 16 amateur, independently-run leagues in the Klang Valley region and certain state leagues in the country be contested under the fifth tier banner this season. The 16 winners of the leagues will then earn automatic promotion to the fourth tier, which will effectively begin in 2019.
Relegation and promotion between the third tier, the FAM Cup, and the fourth tier will take place, added Kevin.
In the first season, amateur leagues that want to be incorporated into the fifth tier will be required to make minor regulation changes, while major changes to the rules need to be implemented in the second season.
Among the changes that need to be implemented by the teams in the two tiers further down the line are official player registration, consistent match venues, coaches licensing requirement, as well as youth academies and competitions.
Speaking to amateur league organisers during the briefing, Kevin said that the plan will be implemented due to of a number of reasons, including the need to enlarge the pool of Malaysian footballers playing competitively, as well as the need to transition away from the state team-model.
"The 16 leagues will now be dubbed the M5 tier. We are looking to expand it to 24, and then 32 amateur leagues. The M4 tier will be contested by the 16 inaugural winners, which will complete the Malaysian football pyramid from the Super League all the way to the fifth tier.
"But we are still in the process of refining the 10-year plan, which still needs the Malaysian FA (FAM's) approval. There's still a lot of work that needs to be done," said Kevin when met by the press after the briefing session.