BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
The Malaysian FA (FAM) on Wednesday evening announced that Malaysia's third tier football competition, the FAM Cup will be contested as a knockout stage in 2019.
The preliminary information provided by the association on its website revealed that it will be contested by 64 clubs.
The clubs will be composed of teams that are already in the FAM Cup, 19 new clubs nominated by FAM affiliates, and amateur clubs in the fourth tier.
The fourth tier, or M4, had earlier this year been announced by Malaysian competitions organiser Malaysian Football League (MFL), to begin competition in the 2019 season. It will be composed of the 14 2018 winners of state, amateur and social leagues around the country that are recognised as part of the fifth tier, M5, by MFL.
According to the statement that was released by Datuk Wira Yusoff Mahadi, FAM deputy president and its local competitions committee chairman, the new format will be managed and funded by MFL up until the round of 16, while the association will manage the quarter-final stage onwards. It had earlier been run exclusively by FAM.
Details such as the new FAM Cup tournament format and the clubs that will take part have not been revealed.
The 2018 edition of the competition had been contested by 14 clubs that were divided into two groups, with the top two sides from each group meeting in the semi-finals. The semi-final winners; Selangor United and Terengganu City were given automatic promotion to the second division and met in the final back in September, which City won 2-0.
But in November it was announced that the champions have been denied promotion due to their failure to pay their players' wages, while two clubs; Marcerra United and Hanelang had collapsed and pulled out of the competition while the regular season was still taking place.
And it is against the background of clubs' shutdown that Malaysian football heads into the new season, perhaps a little more cautiously this time around.
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