BY OOI KIN FAI Follow on Twitter
A landmark decision was announced on Friday and it's one that will change Malaysian football moving forward.
In August last year, Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) had an agreement with Football Malaysia Limited Liability Partnership (FMLLP) regarding "Feeder Club" that ties in with the continuous push to have full club licensing by the 2018 season.
Using the rules under "Feeder Club", JDT has acted quickly to replace Jeronimo Barrales with Gabriel Guerra from Johor Darul Ta'zim II (JDTII) with the former moving in the other direction. The 30-year-old Barrales hasn't had the best of starts for JDT and his red card in the Asian Champions League qualifier is seen by many as the last straw with the main JDT team.
Guerra has already smashed in five goals from two appearances with JDTII in the Premier League and comes with necessary experience gained while playing for PKNS previously. More mobile and younger, Guerra's presence will surely give JDT another boost as they try to recover from that crushing defeat to Gamba Osaka in midweek.
The switch concerning Guerra is only one of four changes that JDT can make outside of the transfer window between JDT and JDTII. However, the remaining three spots are reserved for local players only. A rule that should keep current local JDT players on their toes for the rest of the season.
The allowance given via the feeder club does not come without retrictions though as JDT will now have to comply with new regulations;
- JDTII cannot play in the same division as JDT. Should JDT be relegated to Premier League, JDTII will have to drop to FAM League. Vice versa, as long as JDT remains in Super League, JDTII cannot be promoted from Premier League.
- JDTII must have at least 12 players under the age of 23 throughout the season.
- JDT must have at least four players under the age of 23 as starting XI in every match (Effective 2018 season)
- JDTII can no longer compete in competitions involving JDT including FA Cup and Malaysia Cup (Effective 2018 season)
The new regulations puts the emphasis on age and from that standpoint, it should mean that JDTII will be the hotbed for youth players in years to come where consistent good performance could well earn the players a coveted bump up to the JDT side.
On the other hand, it's harder to judge the four U-23 players rule that JDT will have to use in each and every one of their matches from the 2018 season onwards. It could help give up-and-coming players the chance to stake a place in the starting XI but adversely if these players struggles to perform consistently, it could impact on JDT's title and trophy push.
On paper, it definitely look like JDT will be improved by the Guerra move and Selangor in today's Super League match, will be the first to feel the impact.