Malaysian League

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Malaysian League (Liga Malaysia)
Founded 1979 (Amateur League)
1982 (League trophy introduced)
1989 (Semi-Professional League)
1994 (Professional League)
2004 (Semi-privatisation era)
2016 (Privatisation era)
Country Malaysia
Confederation AFC
Divisions Liga Super
Liga Premier
Liga FAM
Number of teams 12 Liga Super
12 Liga Premier
18 Liga FAM
Level on pyramid 1-3
Relegation to Malaysian States League
Domestic cup(s) Piala FA
Piala Malaysia
International cup(s) AFC Champions League

The Malaysian League or also known as M-League (Liga Malaysia or Liga-M in Malay) is a terminology used to describe the association football league in Malaysia. The terminology was mainly used to describe the league associated within Malaysian football league system.



The concept of an annual competition between the states in Malaysia goes back more than 95 years. In 1967 the Malaya Cup was replaced by the Piala Malaysia but the essentially amateur ethos continued until the Malaysian football league was introduced by the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) in 1979 as a 'halfway house' towards full professional status.

Era of Malaysian League (1979-1989)[edit]

Malaysian football league competition involving the representative sides of the state football associations was first held in Malaysia in 1979.[1][2] When it began, it was intended primarily as a qualifying tournament for the final knock-out stages of the Piala Malaysia where teams compete in a one-round league before advanced to the knock-out stage.[1] The top four teams at the end of the league will face off in two semi-finals before the winners made it to the finals. In 1981, the quarter-finals stage were introduced where eight teams were qualified from the preliminary stage.[3]

However, it was not until 1982 that a league trophy was introduced to recognise the winners of the preliminary stage as the league champions which then officially started the era of nationwide level amateur football league in Malaysia.[4] Since then, the Piala Malaysia has been held after the conclusion of the league each year, with only the best-performing teams in the league qualifying for the Piala Malaysia. Over the years, the league competition has gained important stature in its own right.

Era of Liga Semi-Pro (1989-1993)[edit]

In early days, Malaysian football league system consist of amateur league before the changes in 1989 when it was known fully as the Liga Semi-Pro from 1989 to 1993. The league was divided into two divisions, Liga Semi-Pro Divisyen 1 and Liga Semi-Pro Divisyen 2.

The inaugural season of Liga Semi-Pro consisted of nine teams in Divisyen 1 and eight teams in Divisyen 2. The Malaysian Police joined Divisyen 2 in 1990. Games were played on a home and away basis for about four months roughly between the end of April or early May and the end of August or early September.

Early era of Liga Perdana (1994-1997)[edit]

Liga Perdana was formed and established in 1994 to succeed the Liga Semi-Pro and became the Malaysian fully professional football league and was the top-tier football league in the country at that time.[5] At this time the league was interchangeably referred as Malaysian League.

Era of Liga Perdana 1 and Liga Perdana 2 (1998-2003)[edit]

In 1998, Liga Perdana was divided into two divisions consist of Liga Perdana 1 and Liga Perdana 2.[6][7] During this time both of the division was still just referred as Malaysian League as a whole.

During 1998, Liga Perdana 1 consisted of 12 teams while Liga Perdana 2 had 8 teams.[6] 10 teams that previously qualified for Piala Malaysia which played in 1997 Liga Perdana were automatically qualified to Liga Perdana 1. The other two spots were filled by a playoff round of the 5 lowest teams in 1997 Liga Perdana and the Malaysian Olympic football team. The lowest four teams from the playoff round were then put into Liga Perdana 2 alongside Police, Malaysia Military, Negeri Sembilan Chempaka F.C and PKN Johor. At this time the league still consisted of semi-pro team where each team was allowed to register 25 players where 12 players must be a professional for Liga Perdana 1 and a minimum of six professional players in Liga Perdana 2.[6]

Both leagues continued until 2003 when Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) decided to privatise the league for 2004 season onwards where Liga Super was formed. Teams in Liga Perdana 1 and Liga Perdana 2 was then was put through a qualification and playoff to be promoted into Liga Super. Teams that failed the qualification was put into now a new second-tier league Liga Premier.

Era of Liga Super (2004 onwards)[edit]

After 2004 Malaysian League term was mainly used to describe Malaysian football league system as a whole rather than just top-tier division in the league.

Logo history[edit]

There has been multiple different iteration for Malaysian league logo. The first logo been used during the era of Dunhill sponsorship. The new logo which replace it was during when TM start to sponsor the league in 2005. The last logo used was in 2011 when Astro Media first started to sponsor the Malaysian league. Starting 2012, there was no more logo created for it and league logo was only created for Liga Super and Liga Premier directly.

Current league system[edit]

Unlike most of countries that plays football as a main game, the league system in Malaysia still consist of representative from state association, clubs from company, ministry or government agency.

Liga Super[edit]

The Liga Super (Liga Super Malaysia) is a Malaysian professional league for association football. It is at the top flight of the Malaysian football league system and it is managed by the Football Malaysia Limited Liability Partnership (FMLLP) and partnership of FAM. The league is contested between 12 teams and operates on a system of promotion and relegation with the Liga Premier. The 12 clubs participating in this top flight league need to pass a set of requirements and verification process, particularly related to professionalism and infrastructure feasibility.[8]

Liga Premier[edit]

The Liga Premier (Liga Perdana Malaysia) is the second-tier football league in Malaysia. It is at the second division in Malaysian football league system and it is also managed by the FMLLP and partnership of FAM. The league is contested between 12 teams and operates on a system of promotion and relegation with the Malaysia FAM League. The 12 clubs participating in this league need to pass a set of requirements and verification process, particularly related to professionalism and infrastructure feasibility although with lower requirement compared to the Liga Super.[8]

Liga FAM[edit]

The Malaysia FAM League (Liga FAM Malaysia in Malay and formerly Malaysia FAM Cup) is the third-tier football league in Malaysia. The tournament used to be a cup format, but it changed 2008 as it was held as a league tournament and changing to its current name. Malaysia FAM Cup was established in 1952 as a secondary knockout competition to the more prestigious Malaya Cup, the competition were held between the state teams including Singapore, Police, Army, and Prisons Department of Malaysia in its early days. Starting in 1974, the state teams were barred from entering the competition and only the club sides could enter.

Liga Bolasepak Rakyat[edit]

The Liga Bolasepak Rakyat is the fourth-tier football league in Malaysia. The league is managed by Liga Bolasepak Rakyat-Limited Liability Partnership (LBR-LLP) and it is an amateur-level competition which was established in 2015 with aims to create a bigger base at grassroots level and eventually provide an alternative route for footballers under the age of 28 to make the grade.[9] In its inaugural season, a total of 111 clubs out of more than 150 possible districts in the country compete in the league. The clubs were divided into 8 zones.[10]

Development and youth competition[edit]

Piala Presiden[edit]

The Piala Presiden is developmental football competition in Malaysia for under-21 players. Since its inception, in 1985, the Piala Presiden has been the major tournament for under-21 and under-23 players. In 2009, the format of the competition was changed with only under-20 players eligible to be fielded for the tournament. In 2015 the format of the competition reverted to the original format with under-21 players and three over age players eligible to play.[11]

Piala Belia[edit]

The Piala Belia is the youth football competition in Malaysia for under-19 players. Since its inception, in 2008, the Piala Belia has been the major tournament for under-19. In 2009 to 2011, the competition is combined with Piala Presiden. In 2015 the format of the competition changed to the league format.[12]


Hall of Fame[edit]

League championship[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]