BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
The CEO of M-League organiser Football Malaysia LLP (FMLLP), Kevin Ramalingam in an interview with Goal said that he hopes Malaysian clubs will emulate the step taken by his organisation to reward loyal Malaysian fans.
On Wednesday, FMLLP announced a move to allow fans who attend all four home and away Malaysia Cup quarter and semi-final matches involving their teams, to buy the final match tickets at priority counters, should their teams make it to the final match. The move was described in the announcement as a way to reward the loyal fans with an easier access to the final match.
"We sat down and looked at the situation, where certain fans were attending every match but were unable to get tickets to the final match because the tickets were in great demand.
"Even though we knew that the number of the fans who will be able to get the priority tickets is not going to be big, we decided to at least have something that will make sure that the more 'hardcore' fans will get tickets to the final match," said Kevin in a telephone interview on Wednesday.
He wants Malaysian clubs to observe how it is done, so that they can start implementing it themselves for competitive matches.
"Our hope for this is so that in the long run, the clubs would pick up on this.
"FMLLP is not going to play the role of solution-provider for long. Whatever we do we hope it becomes a catalyst, and we hope that the teams can see that it works and the fans are happy about it.
"And when the teams follow suit, maybe there'll be rewards for a greater number of loyal fans, using different mechanisms," he explained.
Being the first time that such a system is implemented at a Malaysian cup final match in modern times, Kevin added that he understands that the implementation may not be as smooth as he wants, and he expects that it will be further refined in the following seasons by the clubs themselves.
"We also hope to make it better as we go along, and for people to champion this; to handle the ticketing in a better way. We've learnt from the past two years that even the best thought-out plans, when implemented will not be similar to what was envisioned.
"As we implement this we'll be learning and improving on it. We want to hand this over to the teams in the long run, to get them to be able to reward their fans accordingly. Hopefully, the spillover effect from this will not just happen to final matches, but also league and other matches as well.
"We want to make a difference in tickets distribution in the long-term as well," he remarked.
When asked about FMLLP's projection for the number of tickets that will be purchased by fans at the priority counter, Kevin responded that he does not expect the number to be big this season.
"We expect that the number of fans who will travel to away matches will be in the range of between 200 and 300, for every match.
"So in the final match there should be between 400 and 600 fans with the priority tickets. This is just the start. If it works it could evolve into bigger numbers in the future.
"I hope it is seen for what it is; a noble initiative to put the tickets into the hands of those who deserve them," noted Kevin.