BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Although the 2019 Malaysian football season is approaching kick-off in a rather tentative manner, competitions organiser Malaysian Football League (MFL) is nevertheless set to make several exciting introductions this season.
The 2018 season had concluded by the closure and withdrawal of several clubs, such as Felcra FC and Terengganu City, who had won promotion to the top tier and second tier, respectively. MFL then decided to parachute Perlis as City's replacement, only for the Northern Lions players to come out and say that they have not been receiving their pay from the new club management very recently. Furthermore, it has been revealed that several clubs have not been barred from competing despite still owing their former players' salaries.
The actual reason behind the organisation's afore-mentioned actions is still being probed by the media, but many can guess why; the Malaysian league will be left with only a handful of teams should strict punishment be handed out to the errant teams.
And in the season launch event that was held at a hotel in Subang, Selangor on Thursday, it was apparent that MFL was determined to ensure that the 2019 show will go on.
MFL first unveiled its new crest; a simplied emblem that still retains elements of football and the Malaysian flag used in the previous iteration.
The biggest introduction however was the all-star match, which was announced by the Chief Marketing Officer of the league's official broadcast partner Iflix, Jason Monteiro. Although the exact details were not revealed, the match is set to feature Malaysian league players who will be divided into North and South teams, while the encounter itself has been dubbed the Iflix Cup.
According to Jason, its Malaysian football content, Football Malaysia on its streaming application was one of the company's best contents globally, and Iflix will continue broadcasting Malaysian league matches in 2019.
The other introduction was the MFL mobile application, which is set to be ready for free download from the Google Play Store and App Store beginning January 23. While the application can be used by fans to obtain news updates, fixtures, results, tickets and match statistics, this season they can also play a 'Football Manager-style game through the application.
MFL also unveiled two new league sponsors; Maybank, Malaysia's biggest bank, as the league's official bank, as well as Malaysia's own AirAsia, the world's best low-cost airline, as its exclusive official airline.
Malaysian telecommunications provider TM meanwhile stays on as the Super League title sponsor through its Unifi brand, despite earlier reports that it was planning to back out from the deal. Isotonic sports drink brand 100Plus however is no longer the title sponsor for the second tier Premier League, although it is now the Malaysian league's official isotonic drink.
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