Source: NST Online
SORRY: Team to be considered for 2014 season
WITH the 2013 M-League season just nine days away, only seven stadiums have met the minimum requirement to host night matches while Young Tigers C will not feature in the Premier League.
The FA of Malaysia (FAM) competition committee also disclosed yesterday that monies owed by teams to the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), Inland Revenue Board (IRB0 and Socso have reduced from RM2.1 million to RM1.3 million.
The approved stadiums are the Shah Alam Stadium, Darulmarkmur Stadium (Kuantan), Sultan Mohd IV Stadium (Kota Baru), Tuanku Abdul Rahman Stadium (Paroi), Jalan Besar Stadium (Singapore), Sarawak Stadium (Kuching) and the Darulaman Stadium (Alor Star).
These stadiums have a minimum illumination reading of 1,000 lux. Lux is the SI unit of illuminance and luminous emittance.
As it stands, only Super League sides: Selangor, Pahang, Armed Forces, Negri Sembilan, Kelantan, Singapore's LionsXII and Premier League's KL SPA, Kedah and Sarawak will play their home matches at 8.45pm. This means six Super League teams and nine Premier League sides will host matches in the afternoon.
FAM competition committee chairman Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin, however, said State FAs from Johor, Perak, Sabah and Terengganu are making efforts to get their respective stadiums meet the floodlight requirement.
"It will take between two and three months before the concerned stadiums are ready for night matches. We are not punishing teams for it ... we are only trying to educate them about the importance of having brighter stadiums," said Hamidin at Wisma FAM in Kelana Jaya yesterday.
"It is not wrong to play in the afternoon as in some international competitions, like the Asian Games and the Olympics, matches are scheduled in the afternoon. We normally play at night."
On FAM's decision not to include Tigers C in the Premier League, Hamidin said the team will be considered for the 2014 season.
"I want to maintain a 12-team competition for the Premier League to ensure the competition ends on time," he said.
The Premier League ends on July 5 while the Super League on the following day.
Hamidin said the association will officially release the M-League fixtures today.
"We couldn't release it earlier as we needed to finalise logistic matters and also the dates for international friendly matches apart from competitions," he said.
The M-League will go on a break from Jan 26-Feb 7 and Mac 11-27 to accommodate the national team's assignment in the Asian Cup Qualifiers.
"We have drawn-up a schedule in accordance to the national team's request but we could see minor changes during the competition," he said.
Hamidin hopes teams, who still owe EPF, IRB and Socso, totalling RM1.3 million, will settle it next month.
"We will deduct from their subsidies and grants to pay the concerned parties if they fail to do so.
"Anyway, I am very happy that we have managed to raise awareness among teams on the importance of settling their outstanding dues.
"Three years ago, the total outstanding amount was RM12 million but it has reduced to only RM1.3 million (EPF - RM833,793; IRB - RM365,895; Socso - RM101,526). I believe we will achieve an all-time low next month," said Hamidin.
Only 34 foreign players have been registered by teams for the M-League with Felda United being the only Super League with one import.
"Former Kelantan striker Mohd Ghaddar had agreed to join Felda but the Lebanese decided to back-off while Perlis had registered two foreigners before both decided to return to Europe.
"Kelantan and Selangor have until Jan 26 to register another two foreign players for the AFC Cup," Hamidin added.
The Charity Shield, the curtain-raiser of the 2013 M-League on Jan 5, between Kelantan and Armed Forces will be played at the Shah Alam Stadium.