The 2020 season is barely over after it was unceromoniously cut short by the Malaysian government following a rise in the Covid-19 cases after having just completed the opening round of the Malaysia Cup campaign.
Now the attention turns quickly towards the 2021 season that may yet be hampered by the on-going battle against the global pandemic but at least the respective teams now have a schedule to follow.
Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) and Kedah will play out the opening game on Feb 26 in the Charity Shield match that will also double up as a Super League encounter with the other five fixtures to be played the following day.
"MFL took into consideration the joint 2022 World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup qualifications, AFC Champions League and AFC Cup as well as the AFF Suzuki Cup (AFF Championship) and the AFC U19 Championship competitions when coming up with the dates.
"However this is subject to change whether in dates or format if there's any changes in the international competition dates and it will be up to the approval of the MFL board of directors," said Dato Ab Ghani Hassan the Malaysian Football League chief executive officer.
Compared to previous seasons, it would seem that the Super League has been extended a month beyond the usual end of July end date to end of August while the FA Cup is also prolonged for about two months, with the final usually falling in the month of July, now being played in early September instead.
As a direct result of both competitions finising later than usual, the season-ending competition that is the Malaysia Cup will also have a later start than usual with the first matches set for Sep 17 and the big final coming up on Nov 27.
It would seem that this planning will have the best interest of the Malaysia national team at heart with obvious priority given to the qualification matches. Yet it would also seemed to suggest that the AFF Championship may be given more acknowledgement than initially thought, giving rise to the possibility that Cheng Hoe may get better choice of players for the competition that will be played between Apr 11 and May 3.
The important dates
Charity Shield: 26 February 2021
Super League: 27 February 2021 - 21 August 2021
FA Cup: 2 March 2021 - 11 September 2021
Malaysia Cup: 17 September 2021 - 27 November 2021
1st Transfer Window: 21 November 2020 - 14 February 2021
2nd Transfer Window: 12 July 2021 - 8 August 2021