Malaysia Super League

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Malaysia Super League
Malaysia Super League.png
Founded 14 February 2004; 14 years ago (2004-02-14)
Country Malaysia Malaysia
Confederation AFC
Number of teams 12 (from 2013)
Level on pyramid 1
Relegation to Malaysia Premier League
Domestic cup(s) Malaysia FA Cup
Malaysia Cup
Piala Sumbangsih
International cup(s) AFC Cup
AFC Champions League
Current champions Johor Darul Ta'zim (5th title)
(2018)
Most championships Johor Darul Ta'zim (5 titles)
TV partners Media Prima, iflix, Radio Televisyen Malaysia and Unifi TV
Website www.footballmalaysia.com
2018 Malaysia Super League

The Malaysia Super League (Malay: Liga Super Malaysia) is a top-tier professional association football league in Malaysian football league system.[1] Administered by Football Malaysia Limited Liability Partnership (FMLLP), Liga Super (LS) is contested by 12 clubs and operates on a system of promotion and relegation with the Liga Premier (LP).

The inaugural season started in 14 February 2004.[2] Seasons run from February to October. Seasons start in early February and last 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.[3] Most games are played on Saturdays, with a few games played during weekdays.

The competition was formed in 2004 following the decision by the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) to privatise the league. As a result, Malaysia Super League Sendirian Berhad (or MSL Proprietary Limited) was created to oversee the marketing aspects of the league, but it was not fully privatised until 2015, when FMLLP was created in the course of privatisation of the Malaysian football league system.[4] 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.[5][6] FMLLP owns, operates and runs five entities in Malaysian football under its jurisdiction, which include the Super League, the Premier League, the Malaysia FA Cup, the Malaysia Cup, and the Piala Sumbangsih. It aims to transform and move Malaysian football forward.

While 30 clubs have competed since the inception of the Super League in 2004, eight of them have won the title: Johor Darul Ta'zim (5), Kedah, Selangor, Kelantan (2), Pahang, Perlis, Negeri Sembilan, and LionsXII (1). The current champions are Johor Darul Ta'zim, which won the 2018 season.

History[edit]

Origins[edit]

Liga Super was formed in 2004 following the decision by the Football Association of Malaysia to privatise the league. As a result, Malaysia Super League Sdn Bhd (or MSL Proprietary Limited) was created to oversee the marketing aspects of the league, but it was not fully privatised.[4][7]

The league has seen numerous changes to its format from eight teams to 14 teams to accommodate changes to the league rules and withdrawal of certain teams from the league in order to create a competitive environment and professional management among the clubs.[8]

Foundation[edit]

The Malaysian league was revamped to be a fully professional league in 2004 which coined the creation of new top-tier division, Liga Super.

Between 2004 to 2006, the professional football league in Malaysia was divided into two levels and two groups:

  • Top tier: Liga Super (8 teams)
  • Second tier: Liga Premier Group A (8 teams)
  • Second tier: Liga Premier Group B (8 teams)
  • Third tier: Liga FAM

The new top-tier league, Liga Super was competed by eight teams while there were 16 teams competing in Liga Premier which was divided into 2 groups. While there were only eight teams in the league prior to the 2006-07 season, position movements were radical. Successive losses would condemn teams to a relegation dogfight. Similarly, successive wins would put a team in contention for the title. The Liga Super has gone through two format changes in its short history spanning three-years. The Football Association of Malaysia decided to expand the Liga Super to accommodate 14 teams instead of eight, which was the number of league teams in the Liga Super's first three seasons. But the plan was held when some of the teams withdrew from the league for financial reason. Only from 2009 season the league would have 14 teams with all teams playing each other only twice (26 matches total).

Below is the league changed for 2007 season, where Liga Premier was combined into one level rather than two groups and in 2008 Liga FAM was revamped to be compete in league format instead of knockout competition:

  • Top tier: Liga Super
  • Second tier: Liga Premier
  • Third tier: Liga FAM

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.[5][9][10] 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.

A decade after the league inception, a total of eight clubs have been crowned champions of Liga Super where Pahang is the first champion. Kedah, Selangor, and Kelantan has won the league twice each while Pahang, Perlis, Negeri Sembilan and LionsXII has won it once. In 9 September 2016, Johor Darul Ta'zim became the first team to win Liga Super three times in a row.[11]

Club licensing regulations[edit]

Every team in the Liga Super 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 Liga Super and Liga Premier will be required to obtained FAM Club Licensing.[12][13]

As a preliminary preparation towards the total privatisation of the league, FAM Club Licensing is being created with the hope of it being enforced throughout Liga Super fully by the end of 2018 and Liga Premier by end of 2019.[12][13]

As in other national leagues, there are significant benefits to being in the top division:

  • A greater share of television broadcast licence revenues goes to Liga Super sides.
  • Greater exposure through television and higher attendance levels helps Liga Super teams attract the most lucrative sponsorships.
  • Liga Super teams develop substantial financial muscle through the combination of television and gate revenues, sponsorships and marketing of their team brands. This allows them to attract and retain skilled players from domestic and international sources and to construct first-class stadium facilities.

FAM established independent decision making bodies known as the First Instance Body and Appeals Body that would function as an assessment body and the issuer of the license. These two bodies are composed of members that meet the requirements and conditions set by the AFC Club Licensing Regulations mainly within the field of finance and legal.[12]

Privatisation of league football clubs[edit]

Pahang Football Association became the first FAM affiliates to separate itself from the management of football team with the formation of Pahang F.C. which now under the management of Pahang FC Sdn Bhd starting from 2016 season.[14][15]

On 10 January 2016, Johor Football Association became the second FAM affiliates to follow suit when it separate itself from management of football team and changing its focus to state football development and state league while the football team became its own entity as Johor Darul Ta'zim F.C..[16]

In November 2016, Melaka United Soccer Association became the third FAM affiliates to follow suit with privatisation of its football team as separate entity called as Melaka United Football Club for 2017 Liga Super season onwards.[17]

On 6 November 2016, FMLLP has released an update regarding the club licensing progress where currently only Johor Darul Ta'zim F.C. has obtained the CLR while others still in progress with 80 percent complete.[18][19] All clubs in Liga Super and Liga Premier will be required to obtained CLR where Liga Super clubs needed to obtained by September 2017 while Liga Premier clubs has an extended date from 2019 to 2020 as some of the clubs has only met 50 percent requirement completion.[18] FMLLP has also suggesting FAM to ensure that clubs in the Liga FAM meet certain guidelines as this will allow them to get their license if promoted to the Liga Premier.[18]

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 on 19 August 2016.[20] 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.[20] 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 managed to win 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.[20]

Logo evolution[edit]

Since the inception of the 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.[21]

From 2005 to 2010, the Liga Super incorporated the TM brand as part of its logo as the title sponsor.[22]

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 Liga Super marketing.[23] The Astro brand was only incorporated as part of the Liga Super 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.[10] For 2016 season a new logo was introduced as part of the takeover of the league by FMLLP.[24]

Sponsorship[edit]

Season Sponsors League Name
2004 Dunhill[7][21] Dunhill Liga Super
2005–10 TM[7][22][23] TM Liga Super
2011 Liga Super
2012–14 Astro Media[22] Astro Liga Super Malaysia
2015–17 Liga Super Malaysia[24]
2018–25 UniFi UniFi Liga Super Malaysia

Finances[edit]

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.[3]

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.[25] 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.[26]

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.[27][28] 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 do not 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.

Other than this, each teams do raise revenue from sponsorship from local, regional and international sponsors for their team.

Media coverage[edit]

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.[29] 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.[30][31][32] 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.[33]

Season TV Broadcasters
2004 RTM[7]
2005 RTM, NTV7[7]
2006–10 RTM[7]
2011–14 Astro Arena,[29][30] RTM
2015 Media Prima[30][31] (TV3 & TV9), RTM[32]
2016–17 Media Prima[33] (TV3 & TV9)
2018 Media Prima[33] (TV9), RTM, Hypp Sports 3 HD, HyppSports Plus – Unifi Malaysia Super League HD, iflix

Clubs[edit]

Kuala Lumpur and Terengganu were promoted to 2018 Malaysia Super League after finished as champions and runners-up of 2017 Malaysia Premier League.

On 21 November 2017, it was announced that T-Team who finished ninth in the Super League last year, will play in the 2018 Malaysia Premier League pending approval from Football Malaysia LLP (FMLLP).[34] The suggestion then were approved on 4 December 2017, followed by an announcement stating that Felda United, who finished third last season are ineligible to compete in this year top-tier competition. They were replaced by Negeri Sembilan and PKNP.[35]

Stadiums and locations[edit]

Team Location Stadium Capacity
Johor Darul Ta'zim Johor Bahru Tan Sri Dato' Haji Hassan Yunos Stadium 30,000[36]
Kedah Alor Setar Darul Aman Stadium 30,000[37]
Kelantan Kota Bharu Sultan Muhammad IV Stadium 30,000[38]
Kuala Lumpur Cheras KLFA Stadium 18,000[39]
Melaka United Krubong Hang Jebat Stadium 40,000[40]
Negeri Sembilan Paroi Tuanku Abdul Rahman Stadium 45,000[41]
Pahang Kuantan Darul Makmur Stadium 40,000[42]
Perak Ipoh Perak Stadium 42,500[43]
PKNP Batu Kawan State Stadium 42,500[43]
PKNS Shah Alam Shah Alam Stadium 80,372[44]
Selangor Selayang MP Selayang Stadium 16,000[45]
Terengganu I Kuala Terengganu Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah Stadium 15,000[46]

Champions[edit]

Since its inception in 2004, the Liga Super title has seen 8 different teams crowned as champions. Kedah becomes the first club that won the Liga Super title back-to-back, in 2006–07 season and in 2007–08 season. Kelantan also managed to win back-to-back titles in 2011 and 2012. In 2015, Johor Darul Ta'zim became the fourth team to win the titles back-to-back where they won the 2014 and 2015.

Year Champion Runners-up Third place
2004 Pahang Public Bank Perlis
2005 Perlis Pahang Perak
2005–06 Negeri Sembilan TM Perak
2006–07 Kedah Perak DPMM
2007–08 Kedah Negeri Sembilan Johor FC
2009 Selangor Perlis Kedah
2010 Selangor Kelantan Terengganu
2011 Kelantan Terengganu Selangor
2012 Kelantan LionsXII Selangor
2013 LionsXII Selangor Johor Darul Ta'zim
2014 Johor Darul Ta'zim Selangor Pahang
2015 Johor Darul Ta'zim Selangor Pahang
2016 Johor Darul Ta'zim Felda United Kedah
2017 Johor Darul Ta'zim Pahang Felda United
2018 Johor Darul Ta'zim Perak Pahang

Winners[edit]

Club Wins Winning years
1 Johor Darul Ta'zim 5 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
2 Kedah 2 2006–07, 2007–08
Selangor 2009, 2010
Kelantan 2011, 2012
5 Pahang 1 2004
Perlis 2005
Negeri Sembilan 2005–06
LionsXII 2013

Great honours[edit]

Great honours are titled for the team who won 2 trophies (double) and 3 trophies (treble) in the same season. It covers Liga Super, Piala FA, and Piala Malaysia.

Treble[edit]

National treble is the achievement given for winning a Malaysia's top tier division which is the Liga Super and its primary cup competition which is the Piala FA and also the Piala Malaysia, the country's one of Asia's oldest footballing tournaments, in the same season.[47]

Team Seasons Winning titles
Kedah 2006–07 Liga Super, Piala FA, Piala Malaysia
Kedah 2007–08 Malaysia Super League, Piala FA, Piala Malaysia
Kelantan 2012 Malaysia Super League, Piala FA, Piala Malaysia

Double[edit]

National double is the achievement given for winning Malaysia's top tier division which is the Liga Super and its primary cup competition which is the Piala FA or Piala Malaysia in the same season.

Team Seasons Winning titles
Selangor 2009 Malaysia Super League, Piala FA
Johor Darul Ta'zim 2015 Malaysia Super League, AFC Cup
Johor Darul Ta'zim 2016 Malaysia Super League, Piala FA
Johor Darul Ta'zim 2017 Malaysia Super League, Piala Malaysia

Number of appearances[edit]

Included the current 15th season of Liga Super.

Rank Teams Recent Appearances
1 Perak 2018 15
2 Pahang 2018 14
3 Selangor 2018 13
4 Johor Darul Ta'zim 2018 12
5 Terengganu 2018 11
6 Kelantan 2018 10
6 Kedah 2018 10
8 Negeri Sembilan 2018 9
8 Penang 2017 9
10 Perlis 2011 8
10 Sarawak 2017 8
12 T-Team 2017 7
13 Felda United 2017 6
14 PKNS 2018 5
15 PDRM 2016 4
15 LionsXII 2015 4
15 Sabah 2012 4
15 Kuala Lumpur 2018 4
19 ATM 2015 3
19 TM 2006–07 3
19 Melaka United 2018 3
22 Sime Darby 2015 2
22 UPB-MyTeam 2009 2
22 DPMM 2007–08 2
22 PLUS 2010 2
22 MPPJ 2005–06 2
22 Public Bank 2005 2
28 PKNP 2018 1
28 Johor 2010 1
28 Harimau Muda A 2011 1
28 Kuala Muda NAZA 2009 1

Top scorers[edit]

Golden Boot winners[edit]

Season Players Clubs Goals
2004 Malaysia Indra Putra Mahayuddin Pahang 15
2005 Brazil Julio Cesar Rodriguez
Zambia Zacharia Simukonda
Sabah
Perlis
18
2006 Guinea Keita Mandjou Perak 17
2007 Guinea Keita Mandjou
Brunei Shahrazen Said
Perak
DPMM
21
2008 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Marlon Alex James Kedah 23
2009 Malaysia Mohd Nizaruddin Yusof Perlis 18
2010 Malaysia Ashaari Shamsuddin Terengganu 18
2011 Malaysia Abdul Hadi Yahya Terengganu 20
2012 Cameroon Jean-Emmanuel Effa Owona
Liberia Francis Forkey Doe
Negeri Sembilan
Terengganu
15
2013 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Marlon Alex James ATM 16
2014 Brazil Paulo Rangel Selangor 16
2015 Mali Dramane Traore PDRM 19
2016 Argentina Jorge Pereyra Díaz Johor Darul Ta'zim 18
2017 Lebanon Mohammed Ghaddar Johor Darul Ta'zim / Kelantan 23
2018 Spain Rufino Segovia Selangor 19

Crowd attendance[edit]

All data available to the public starting from the beginning of 2015 season.

Season Overall Attendance Top 3 Bottom 3
Total Average Team Att. Ave. Team Att Ave.
2015 883,225 6,691 JDT FC 184,198 16,745 ATM FA 22,750 2,068
Kelantan FA 108,696 9,881 PDRM FA 22,300 2,027
Pahang FA 107,693 9,790 Sime Darby FC 17,960 1,633
2016 902,643 6,838 JDT FC 191,982 17,453 PDRM FA 32,950 2,995
Perak FA 121,687 11,062 Sarawak FA 22,892 2,081
Kedah FA 103,421 9,402 T-Team FC 20,210 1,837
2017 872,108 6,607 JDT FC 187,557 17,051 Sarawak FA 35,206 3,201
Kedah FA 161,626 14,693 PKNS FC 30,234 2,749
Pahang FA 82,964 7,542 T-Team FC 11,995 1,090

Source: Football Association of Malaysia Management Database[48]

Players[edit]

Foreign players[edit]

Foreign players policy has changed multiple times since the league inception.[8] 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.[8] Foreign players were only allowed be back to the league starting from the 2012 season onwards.[8]

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 Super.[8]

  • 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.
  • 2015–2017: 4 foreign players including 1 Asian quota.
  • 2018–2021: 5 foreign players including 1 Asian quota and 1 Asean quota.

Club Ranking in Asia[edit]

AFC Club Ranking[edit]

The final ranking position(s) for each participating MSL clubs in AFC Club Competitions.

Year Rank Points Team
2015[49] 59 20.295 Kelantan FA
68 18.294 Johor Darul Ta'zim F.C
88 12.295 Selangor FA
96 10.961 Pahang FA
108 9.295 Terengganu FA
2016[50] 45 30.142 Johor Darul Ta'zim F.C.
79 14.477 Selangor FA
93 10.809 Kelantan FA
100 9.476 Pahang FA
- - -
2017[51] 34 38.95 Johor Darul Ta'zim F.C.
94 9.951 Selangor FA
98 9.617 Pahang FA
120 5.284 Felda United F.C.
132 4.617 Kelantan FA

*Bold denotes the highest ranked club for each year at the end of the season.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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