PETALING JAYA: Telekom Malacca (TMFC) are expected to withdraw from the Super League. It is learnt that the club are wrapping up after 10 seasons in the M-League.
The former FAM Cup champions were in Premier II for four seasons (1999-2002) before making the grade to Premier I (2003). The following season, they were demoted to the Premier League but bounced back into the top flight in 2005.
This season, TMFC finished seventh in the league. They were eliminated in the group stages of the Malaysia Cup and were disqualified in the second round of the FA Cup for fielding an ineligible player.
TMFC team co-ordinator Zulkifli Shaari said yesterday that they had held talks on the matter but had yet to come to a final decision.
“Discussions are still ongoing among the board of directors and a decision will be made soon,” he said.
On Wednesday, there was another piece of shocking news involving TMFC.
Their former star striker, Chaswe Nsofwa, 27, of Zambia collapsed and died during a practice match with his new club, Israeli Division Two side Hapoel Beer Sheva, in Jerusalem.
Nsofwa starred in TMFC’s best season in 2005, helping them finish as the runners-up in the Super League. The team also reached the semi-finals of the Malaysia Cup and quarter-finals of the FA Cup.
The competitions committee chairman, Datuk Raja Ahmad Zainuddin Raja Omar, said that TMFC’s intention to withdraw was news to him.
“But our stand is clear and we have guidelines. Team that withdraw have to face the consequences provided for under the competition rules,” he said.
When Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (MPPJ) withdrew from the top flight last season, they were slapped with a RM50,000 fine and a two-year suspension.
In 2005, Public Bank and MK Land withdrew from the Premier League and were fined RM50,000 each and suspended from all FAM-sanctioned competitions until 2010.
It is learnt that if Telekom were to withdraw, the demoted Malacca will likely be re-instated in the Super League.
Newly-promoted Beverly FC of Kota Kinabalu are another club side set to withdraw from the Premier League. The FAM Cup runners-up are unable to meet the requirements, including finance, to compete in the M-League.
Teams in the Super and Premier Leagues are required to have sides for the President’s Cup (Under-21) and Youth Cup (Under-19) competitions.
FAM Cup champions Proton, KL City Hall and Felda are the other three teams who will make their debut in the Premier League.
The FAM have planned for 14 teams each in the Super and Premier Leagues for the new season, which kicks off on Nov 3. This season’s competitions had 13 teams in the Super League and 11 in the Premier League.
Police and UPB-MyTeam FC were promoted to the Super League while Malacca were demoted as the bottom-placed team. There was no demotion for the Premier League.