MFL denies 2021 M-league cancellation

KUALA LUMPUR – The Malaysian Football League (MFL) has denied claims that the 2021 Malaysia League (M-League) competition will be canceled.

MFL chief executive officer Datuk Ab Ghani Hassan released a statement to clarify the issue after a video entitled ‘TERKINI! LIGA MALAYSIA MUSIM 2021 MUNGKIN AKAN DIBATALKAN’ (Latest News! 2021 Malaysia League Season May Be Cancelled) had recently gone viral.

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Ab Ghani Hassan said MFL was disappointed with the fake report, which also gave a negative impact on sponsors as well as government agencies who have helped with planning the upcoming season.

“I wish to deny the news report saying that the 2021 Malaysia League season is cancelled, and MFL president (Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin) has confirmed that he did not give any statement to any local media or blog.

“I regret the fact that some parties are trying to thwart our efforts to ensure that the Malaysia League season 2021 runs as usual, through this fake news,” he said in a statement on MFL’s official Facebook page today.

Ab Ghani said MFL and the National Sports Council (MSN) in a recent meeting held online had also discussed and reviewed the mechanism to hold the 2021 M-League during the Movement Control Order (MCO).

He said the meeting was held to ensure that the Malaysian footballing calendar runs as planned in accordance with the standard operating procedures (SOP) set by the Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH).

The statement also revealed that MFL, as the governing body of the M-League, will issue a media statement regarding this year’s local footballing schedule by next week.

“Changes from the schedule are expected to occur following the enforcement of the MCO and that cannot be denied, but God willing, the cancellation of the 2021 Malaysia League season will not happen,” he said.

International recognition

The integrity of Malaysian referees meanwhile continued to gain international recognition when 19 individuals were selected as match officials of world football governing body FIFA this year.

Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) secretary-general Stuart Ramalingam said in a statement today that they comprised five referees, nine assistant referees (including one woman), three futsal referees and two beach football referees.

The five referees are Mohd Amirul Izwan Yaacob, who has been a FIFA referee since 2012, Mohd Nazmi Nasaruddin (2016), Suhaizi Shukri (2011), Razlan Joffri Ali (2018) and Tuan Mohd Yaasin Tuan Mohd Hanafiah (2019).

The nine assistant referees are Mohd Yusri Muhamad, Mohd Muazi Zainal Abidin, Mohd Shahreen Che Omar, Mohd Harif Md Akhir, Mohd Arif Shamil Abd Rasid, Mohd Zairul Khalil Tan, Mohd Farhan Abdul Aziz, Muhamad Shafiq Ahmad Said and Nur Akmal Anuar (woman).

The three futsal referees are Helday Idang, Mohd Ridzuan Rozali and Mohd Norafendy Norhayalan while the two beach football referees are Suhaimi Mat Hassan and Wan Mohd Tarmizi Wan Ibrahim.

Stuart said that Mohd Amirul Izwan had also been commissioned to be appointed as Video Match Official (VMO) and Mohd Yusri as an assistant referee for matches involving Video Assistant Referee (VAR).

“Hopefully, all 19 referees selected by FIFA will be able to carry out their duties well and excellently throughout 2021 and make Malaysia proud on the international stage,” said Stuart.

The 35-year-old Mohd Amirul Izwan is a police officer in the General Operations Force and has been selected by the FIFA panel since 2012.

He has officiated matches at several major championships, such as the 2015 Under-17 World Cup in Chile and the Asian Under-19 Championship in Myanmar. He had also served as VAR assistant in the AFC Champions League final last season.

Issue resolved

The war of words, between Kelantan Football Club (Kelantan FC) owner Norizam Tukiman, Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) and Malaysian Football League (MFL) is finally over following a meeting at Wisma FAM in Kelana Jaya today.

FAM, in a posting on their Facebook page today, announced that the more than one-hour meeting was attended by FAM deputy president Datuk Mohd Yusoff Mahadi, FAM vice-president Datuk Ab Ghani Hassan, who is also the MFL chief executive officer, FAM secretary-general Stuart Ramalingam, Norizam as well as Kelantan Football Association (KAFA) representatives, headed by vice-president Ahmad Muzakkir Hamid.

The verbal dispute between them was believed to started after reports emerged claiming that Kelantan FC could be subjected to a three-point deduction due to their players’ salary arrears. This caused Norizam to be dissatisfied with FAM’s actions.

Stuart, however, denied that Kelantan FC would be docked three points.

Apart from that, Norizam was also reported to have raised several issues, including the payment of the Malaysia League (M-League) broadcasting rights and unpaid referees’ allowances.