M-League: FA Cup is back, kick-off times changed

12/01/2022 08:32 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 12 -- This season’s Malaysia League (M-League) will see the return of the FA Cup, which was cancelled for the last two seasons due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The winner of the year’s FA Cup will earn a spot in next year’s AFC (Asian Football Confederation) Cup.

The FA Cup competition this year will use the knockout format from start to end. Previously, the quarter-finals and semi-finals were played on a home-and-away basis.

The season-opening Charity Shield, also known as the Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Trophy, will no longer count as the first match of the Super League.

This year's Charity Shield will be contested by Super League defending champions Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) and 2021 FA Cup champions Kuala Lumpur City FC at the Sultan Ibrahim Stadium on Feb 26.

Based on the Malaysian Football League (MFL) schedule, the FA Cup final is set for Aug 6 while the Malaysia Cup final, which will also mark the end of the M-League, will be on Nov 19.

MFL chief executive officer Stuart Ramalingam said the first round of the Super League would be from March 4-July 16 and the second round from July 19-Sept 17.

The Premier League, meanwhile, will be from March 5-May 28 and June 25-Sept 3, he said.

He said the MFL had also changed the kick-off times for the Super League, with matches in Sabah and Sarawak set at 7.30 pm and 8.15 pm respectively while those in the Peninsula will begin at 8.15 pm and 9 pm.

During the Ramadan fasting month, matches will start at 9.15 pm in Sabah and Sarawak and 10 pm in the Peninsula.

“The M-League calendar was set by taking into account various factors, including FIFA and AFC’s calendars and quarantine periods that the teams - JDT in the Asian Champions League (ACL); Kedah Darul Aman (KDA) FC and KL City in the AFC Cup; and the national team in international outings - will have to undergo. We have set aside 28 days just for the quarantine period.

"It is hoped that changes in the kick-off times will help teams increase revenue through broadcasting, fan presence in stadiums and other side activities, including pre-match events,” he said during a virtual briefing on the 2022 Malaysia League (M-League) calendar, today.

He pointed out that the league fixtures would continue to be held even during the ACL and AFC Cup match days.

Stuart said the standard operating procedures for this season's M-League would only be announced once they have been approved by the government, with discussions still ongoing.

-- BERNAMA

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