AFL optimistic M3 League will run smoothly next year

PETALING JAYA – The Amateur Football League (AFL) is optimistic that the Malaysian League’s (M-League) third division competition – the M3 League – can run smoothly next year, after the 2020 and 2021 seasons had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

AFL chairman Datuk Mohd Yusoff Mahadi said it was actively working on organising and seeking sponsorships for the competition, which is expected to take place from mid-February to September next year.

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He said the cost of organising the 2022 M3 and M5 leagues was expected to reach RM2 million, while so far, it had managed to get a sponsorship from energy drink company Extra Joss comprising RM300,000 in cash and royalty from product sales, with another one from Spanish sporting goods company Kelme.

“We have some sponsors who are in discussions with us, where are about 70-80 per cent in agreement, hopefully before the end of this year we can finalise them and have enough sponsorships to run the M3 League,” he said during a press conference at Wisma FAM today.

Meanwhile, he said only 15 of the 20 clubs registered previously were qualified to play in the M3 League next season, after the AFL examined the relevant documents, especially in terms of the financial capability of the teams to remain competitive.

Mohd Yusoff, who is also Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) deputy president said priority would be given to previously registered teams before registration was opened to new clubs, but if they could not find any more clubs that could compete, they would continue with the existing qualified ones.

According to him, the M4 League will only begin in 2023, because the fourth division competition will be formed with teams that were relegated from the M3 League and promoted from the M5 League next year.

Mohd Yusoff also confirmed that the promotion to the second-tier Premier League from the M3 League, would resume from the 2023 season.

Based on the original format, the bottom two teams in the Premier League will head down to the third division, while the top two teams from division three will go up to the Premier League, however, this was not possible for the 2020 and 2021 seasons, as the M3 League competition had been cancelled.

Also present at the press conference today were Extra Joss Consumer and Sales chief Asep Dasuki and Kelme Malaysia director Choong Wai Tuck.