Malaysia Premier League
|Organising body||Malaysia Football League|
|Number of teams||12 (from 2010)|
|Level on pyramid||2|
|Promotion to||Malaysia Super League|
|Relegation to||Malaysia M3 League|
|Domestic cup(s)||FA Cup|
|International cup(s)||AFC Champions League (possible via FA Cup)|
|Current champions||Penang (1st title) |
|Most championships||Felda United|
|TV partners||Mycujoo (Live Streaming)|
|2020 Malaysia Premier League|
Malaysia Premier League (Malay: Liga Premier) is the current second-tier football league in Malaysia. The league replaced the former second-tier league Liga Perdana 2 in Malaysian football league system.
Premier League is contested by 12 clubs. Seasons run from February to October. The season starts in early February and lasts until late October, with a Ramadan break for a month. Teams play 22 matches each (playing each team in the league twice, home and away), totalling 132 matches in the season. Most games are played on Fridays, with a few games played during weekdays.
In 2015, Football Malaysia Limited Liability Partnership (FMLLP) was created in the course of privatisation of the Malaysian football league system. The partnership saw all 24 teams of Liga Super and Liga Premier including FAM as the Managing Partner and MP & Silva as a special partner (FAM's global media and commercial advisor) to become stakeholders in the company. FMLLP owns, operates and runs five entities in Malaysian football under its jurisdiction, which include Liga Super (MSL), the Liga Premier, the Piala FA, the Piala Malaysia and the Piala Sumbangsih. It aims to transform and move Malaysian football forward.
Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) decided to privatise the Malaysian League in 2004 season onwards where Liga Super and Liga Premier 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, the Liga Premier.
The Liga Perdana 1 was the nation's top-tier league from 1994 until 2003 when it was succeeded by the formations of professional football league, Liga Super in 2004 by Football Association of Malaysia. The Liga Perdana 2 then was replaced by the new Liga Premier where the teams was divided into two different groups.
The inaugural season for the new second-tier league started in 2004 with 18 teams divided into 2 groups.
Between 2004 and 2006, Liga Premier was divided into two groups of 8 teams:
- First Division: Liga Super
- Second Division: Liga Premier Group A
- Second Division: Liga Premier Group B
At the end of the season, the top team from each group of the Liga Premier was promoted to the Liga Super. The teams which finished bottom of each group were relegated to the Liga FAM. The two group champions also faced-off to determine the Liga Premier championship.
2007 league revamp as a single group
For the 2006-07 season, the Liga Premier was reorganised into a single league of 11 teams instead of being a competition involving two separate groups of teams. There were a fewer number of teams due to more teams being promoted to Liga Super, as part of the league expansion, while some others withdrew from Liga Premier.
From 2007 onwards, Liga Premier was combined into one single league.
- First Division: Liga Super
- Second Division: Liga Premier
2010 league season with 12 teams
Over the years since its formation, the league has witnessed numerous changes to its format in order to accommodate the changes to rules and number of teams competing in the league where only since 2010 the number of teams competing has been stabilised with 12 teams.
In 2015, Football Malaysia LLP was created in the course of privatisation of the Malaysian football league system. The partnership saw all 24 teams of Liga Super and Liga Premier including FAM as the Managing Partner and MP & Silva as a special partner (FAM's global media and commercial advisor) to become stakeholders in the company. The company owns, operates and runs five entities in Malaysian football under its jurisdiction, which include Liga Super, the Liga Premier, the Piala FA, the Piala Malaysia and the Piala Sumbangsih. It aims to transform and move Malaysian football forward.
Club licensing regulations
Every team in the Liga Premier must have a licence to play in the league, or else they are relegated. To obtain a licence, teams must be financially healthy and meet certain standards of conduct as organisations. As part of privation effort for the league, all clubs compete in MSL and MPL will be required to obtained FAM Club Licensing.
As a preliminary preparation towards the total privatisation of the league, FAM Club Licensing Regulation is being created with the hope of it being enforced throughout MSL fully by the end of 2018 and MPL by end of 2019.
Privatisation of league football clubs
In November 2016, Melaka United Soccer Association became the third FAM affiliates to separate itself from the management of football team with the privatisation of its football team as separate entity called as Melaka United Football Club for 2017 Liga Super season onwards. The other two are Pahang Football Association with Pahang F.C. and Johor Football Association with Johor Darul Ta'zim F.C. in early 2016.
The state Football Association such as Johor Football Association will now changing its focus to state football development and managing state league.
In February 2017, FMLLP has released a statement regarding the official status of Johor Darul Ta'zim and Johor Darul Ta'zim II where Johor Darul Ta'zim II has now become an official feeder club for Johor Darul Ta'zim since the feeder club agreement between both club has been approved in 19 Ogos 2016. Through the agreement, both clubs will be allowed additional four players transfer quota which can be used outside normal transfer windows for player between both clubs. The feeder club will also required to register a minimum of 12 players under the age of 23 for its squad from 2017. A feeder club will be required to be in the league below the main club at all times which mean Johor Darul Ta'zim II will never be allowed to reach promotion even if the club won the Liga Premier. By 2018, the feeder club must field four players under the age of 23 in their first eleven during match day and the feeder club is not allowed to play in other cup competition where the parent club compete such as Piala Malaysia and Piala FA.
Since the inception of the league as the second-tier league in 2004, numerous logo has been introduced for the league to reflect the sponsorship purpose. In its inaugural season, Dunhill logo was incorporated as title sponsors and it was the only season sponsored by the tobacco company before tobacco advertising was banned in the country.
After the end of TM sponsorship for seven consecutive years, FAM launched a new logo for the 2011 season where it has been partnering with Astro Media as strategic partner for Malaysian League marketing. The Astro brand was only incorporated as part of the Liga Premier logo from 2012 season including the wording of Malaysia and the partnership continue until the end of 2014 season.
In 2015 season, no title sponsor was incorporated when the league was sponsored by MP & Silva. For 2016 season a new logo was introduced as part of the takeover of the league by FMLLP where 100PLUS has been announced as title sponsor.
|2004||Dunhill||Dunhill Liga Premier|
|2005–10||TM||TM Liga Premier|
|2011||No sponsor||Liga Premier|
|2012–14||Astro Media||Astro Liga Premier Malaysia|
|2015||No sponsor||Liga Premier Malaysia|
|2016–18||100PLUS||100PLUS Liga Premier Malaysia|
|2019–20||No sponsor||Liga Premier Malaysia|
The FMLLP will introduce the merit-point system starting in 2016 season. Points will be awarded based on a team’s league position, progress in the Cup competitions (Piala FA and Piala Malaysia) and the number of live matches shown. A point in season’s Malaysian League will be worth RM41,000.
The money will be distribute twice per season. First during early season where the team will received a basic payment out of that particular year league sponsorship and the second payment will be received at the end of the season where all merit-point has been calculated. For 2016 season, the first basic payment will consist of 30 percent cut out of RM 70 Million league sponsorship that equal to RM 21 million which will be distributed among 24 teams of Liga Super and Liga Premier.
Team in Malaysian league has quite often involved in financial problem as their spending is more than their revenue. The Professional Footballers Association of Malaysia (PFAM) is one of the active member in pursuing the issue of unpaid salaries. In January 2016, PFAM president's suggest a couple solutions to promote financial sustainability on the competing team's part where the team's should make long-term investments by operating according to their budgets and requiring teams wage bills to be no bigger than 60 percent of their total spending. Other suggestion including for the salaries to be deducted directly from team grants and winning prizes, for points to be deducted from teams experiencing payment issues, and a ruling that requires teams to settle all their late salary payments before the start of every new season.
In response to this issues, FMLLP decided starting 2016 season, football clubs would be given warnings with the deduction of three league points if they failed to pay player's salary. If the problem persists, it will affect the licence of the clubs. When the club licence is withdrawn, the team will not be able to compete next season. If the team don't adopt the right structure, they will be left behind and club licensing will be a problem for them, and the team will drop out from competing in the league.
Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM), a free-to-air channel has been broadcasting Malaysian league for a years even before the formation of Liga Super. They continued to broadcast the league most of the times exclusively until end of 2010 where Astro Media was announced as sponsors and to manage the broadcasting right of the league for four years spanning from 2011 until 2014 season. During this time, the league was broadcast on one of the cable channel of Astro Media, which is Astro Arena alongside the RTM for the free-to-air broadcast. In 2015, Astro lost the broadcasting right for the league where the right was given to Media Prima, a parent company of multiple free-to-air channel alongside the broadcast with RTM. In 2016, RTM has stopped broadcast Malaysia Premier League. However, the broadcasting right for 2016 season has been given to Media Prima for 3 years with a maximum of three games in each gameweek will be shown live on television.
In 2019, Mycujoo wins the Premier League rights. For 2019 season, Mycujoo will aired up to 3 games per week and in 2020, will aired all 140 games per season.
Although the broadcasting rights were held by the broadcasters, the Liga Premier has not shown live matches for quite some time as most of the production has been fully utilised for the Liga Super matches. As a result, most of the time, matches from Liga Premier were only shown as highlights for the sports news segment.
|2005, 2015–2017||Media Prima (TV3, NTV7 (2005 only), TV9)|
Since Liga Premier inception as second-tier league in 2004, Kedah has become the most winners of Liga Premier with two titles.
Best performing teams
Table below is the list of number of championship wins by winners since 2004.
|Kuala Muda Naza||1|
|2005||Selangor||Liga Premier, Piala FA & Piala Malaysia|
Golden Boot winners
Below is the list of golden boot winners of Liga Premier since its inception as second-tier league in 2004.
|2008||Mohamed Moustapha N'diaye||Kelantan||27|
|2009||Haris Safwan Kamal||T-Team||24|
|2010||Muhammad Zamri Hassan||PKNS||11|
|2011||Mohd Fitri Omar||MP Muar||16|
|2012||Khairul Izuan Abdullah||PDRM||27|
|2013||Karlo Primorac||Sime Darby||24|
|2015||Francis Forkey Doe||Negeri Sembilan||17|
|2016||Ilija Spasojević||Melaka United||24|
|2017||Guilherme de Paula||Kuala Lumpur||27|
Foreign players policy has changed multiple times since the league inception. In 2009, FAM took a drastic measure when they change the foreign players policy when they were banned from playing in the league until 2011. Foreign players were only allowed be back to the league starting from the 2012 season onwards.
All foreign players must obtain International Transfer Certificate from their previous national football governing body that their previous clubs affiliated before they can be register with FAM in order to play in Liga Premier.
- 2009–2011: foreign players banned.
- 2012: 2 foreign players.
- 2013: 3 foreign players.
- 2014: 4 foreign players and only 3 can be on the field at a time.
- 2015–present: 4 foreign players including 1 Asian quota.
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