KUALA LUMPUR (April 5): The 2021 Malaysia League (M-League) match calendar will be postponed beginning April 23 to pave the way for the national squad’s preparation for the 2022 World Cup/2023 Asia Cup second-round qualifiers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) this June.
The postponement also took into consideration the change in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League schedule involving Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT), said Malaysia Football League (MFL) chief executive officer Datuk Ab Ghani Hassan in a statement on Monday.
He said the Harimau Malaya squad management requested to begin centralised training from May 16, while the East Zone AFC Champions League matches scheduled to begin April 21 to May 7 were pushed to between June 21 and July 7.
"Based on the original schedule, the Super League teams would play only two matches and the Premier League teams would play three matches throughout the Ramadan month. Now we will have Super League teams playing five matches, while Premier League teams will play four matches,” he said.
In addition to the AFC Champions League matches, focus would need to be given to two clubs representing the country, Kedah Darul Aman FC and Terengganu FC, that will compete in the AFC Cup group stages in Singapore from June 22 to June 28.
At the same time, Ab Ghani said the changes in the M-League calendar also resulted in the second registration date for this season’s M-League being pushed from between July 5 and Aug 1, to May 3 to May 30.
Meanwhile, Ab Ghani explained that the Super League competition is scheduled to end on Aug 14, while the Premier League will end on Aug 8.
"The Malaysia Cup and Challenge Trophy draws will be held before the league competition ends, using the league standings to determine the clubs’ positions in the group,” he said, adding that the MFL will be issuing the latest M-League calendar soon.