BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
On Friday, the Malaysian FA (FAM) announced the final list of the teams that will be participating in Malaysia's third tier football competition this season, the 2017 FAM Cup.
The competition will see the participation of 16 teams, one less than the previous season, despite the inclusion of three new outfits.
The three new sides are KSDBKL, Terengganu City FC, and 2016 People's Football League champions Kuching FA.
Meanwhile three teams have pulled out from the competition; DYS FC, Megah Murni FC and Ipoh FA.
ATM, who finished the 2016 Premier League in the second-last position, were supposed to be relegated to the FAM Cup, but were saved by the collapse of DRB-Hicom FC. Only Sime Darby FC, who finished last in the second division, were relegated to the FAM Cup.
The 16 teams are: Sime Darby, knockout stage semi-finalists Felcra FC and PJ Rangers FC (formerly AirAsia Allstars FC), knockout stage semi-finalists MOF FC, SAMB FC, Sungai Ara FC, KDMM FC, as well as Shahzan Muda FC, UKM FC, Penjara FC, Hanelang FC, PBMM FC, MPKB-BRI U-Bes FC, and the three new inclusions
According to the announcement, this season's competition will retain the previous season's format, despite the reduction in the number of teams.
The 16 teams will be divided into two groups of eight, with each team playing their seven group opponents in a home and an away match. At the conclusion of the group stage, the top four teams in each group will then meet in a knockout stage. The quarter-finals, semis and final will be played away and at home, with the finalists both earning promotion to the Premier League.
However the grouping and fixtures have not been finalised yet, and are expected to be announced after the draw is performed at a later time.
FAM Cup is run and organised by FAM, unlike the top two tiers; the Super League and the Premier League, the Malaysia Cup, the FA Cup and the Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Cup, which are organised by Football Malaysia LLP.