In a press conference held by the Malaysian FA (FAM) on Monday afternoon, the national body revealed the licensing and privatisation status of the top two tier clubs in the country.
Secretary general Stuart Ramalingam explained that 13 of the 20 clubs (excluding reserve teams) have fulfilled the six requirements to compete in the 2021 Malaysia Super League and the Malaysia Premier League, while the remaining seven have only received a conditional license.
The seven are Melaka United, Pahang, UKM FC, Kuching FA, Kelantan, Pulau Pinang and Sarawak United, who did not receive a full licence mostly due to their failure in submitting payment proofs for wages, taxes and Employees' Provident Fund contributions on time.
But according to Stuart, these teams have shown proof of communications with the parties involved and provided mutually-agreed payment plans. The seven will now have until 31 October 2020 to meet all the requirements, or they will face points slashing, demotion, fines or licence revocation.
The six licensing requirements are sporting requirements, infrastructure, officials and administration, legal requirements, financial criteria and business capacity.
On top of the FAM licence, eight teams have also been granted a license to compete in Asian Football Confederation (AFC) tournaments if they qualify. They are Johor Darul Ta’zim, Perak, Selangor, Terengganu FC, Felda United, Petaling Jaya City, Kedah and Kuala Lumpur. Melaka have also applied for an AFC licence, but it was rejected.
JDT in the AFC Champions League. Photo from Sports Regime
Meanwhile, the association also announced that all 20 clubs have submitted their first phase privatisation/separation process documentations. On top of the 20, third tier military club Armed Forces have also participated in the exercise, and completed their process.
Under the first phase, clubs need to fulfil seven requirements:
- preliminary agreement by football association (FA)
- company registration with Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM)
- club name and crest registration with Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia (MyIPO)
- Malaysian Sports Commissioner (PJS) licence registration
- task delegation contract between FA and newly-formed FC
- written confirmation and approval from FA
- approval letter from FAM and AFC
For the second phase, the FAs and FCs will need to submit their organisational charts as well as the curriculum vitae of their officials by 30 November 2020, in order to ensure that the now-separated entities' operations are not run by the same people.
Tha association also revealed the owners and directors of the 21 clubs, although Stuart was quick to add that the list is not final and further changes may still take place.
21 Malaysian clubs have completed their first phase privatisation process. These are the owners and directors, according to the Malaysian FA, who noted that these can still change as the exercise continues. (Sorry for poor quality) pic.twitter.com/zm0pVYs4g7— Zulhilmi Zainal (@zulhilmibzainal) October 6, 2020
However, two clubs have been flagged for irregular ownership issues, although these issues do not affect their first phase process according to Stuart.
University club and Premier League side UKM FC have registered their head coach Sulaiman Hussin as the owner of its ownership company, hinting at the possibility that the university that they represent, the National University of Malaysia no longer want to run and fund a professional football team.
UKM FC in early 2020
More shockingly was the issue inolving Felda United. Rumours have surfaced of a power struggle for the ownership of the club that represent rural poor resettlement government agency Federal Land Development Authority, but just hours after the FAM presser, the agency announced that it will shut down its professional football operations after the 2020 season ends, despite having already received the 2021 licence and cleared the first phase privatisation process.