The Malaysian League, now in the doldrums, needs to pull back its fans as the sport did in its earlier days being a big public entertainment draw, said 'Football King' Datuk Abdul Ghani Minhat.
He said as entertainment it needed icons or idols and stars like the late Mokhtar Dahari who was very much respected and idolised by football fans."Fans do not want to see just one level of skills and ability in the league, there need to be stars even if such stars are in a defensive position," the national football legend told Bernama Saturday.
Abdul Ghani said this when asked to comment on the call by the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM)'s president Sultan Ahmad Shah at the FAM's 46th Congress last Sunday that the Malaysian League had to be reviewed.Sultan Ahmad Shah voiced dissatisfaction at the present football scenario especially of the financial problems faced by state football associations and clubs competing in the Malaysian League.
Abdul Ghani said FAM as the apex national football body needed to review in depth the best way to bring glory back to the present lacklustre league."If we were to revert back to the semi-pro status there may be implications like players salaries being reduced."Reducing the number of teams in the league would effect associations' finances as income from ticket sales would be reduced due to fewer matches," Abdul Ghani said.He said players too would have fewer matches to play leading to less experience and exposure.
This year the Super League has 14 teams competing while 13 teams are competing in the Premier League after the Johor Baharu Municipal Council was suspended in March over insurance problems.On the possibility of allowing imported players in the local leagues after the ban for the present season, Abdul Ghani said the if local players failed to get their salaries on time what more about imported players whose salaries were way much higher."So to get fans back into the stadiums each team has to display quality play and the fans will come back. It is not difficult to attract football fans if players play well," he said.
He gave as example the Kelantan team's good display in the present Super League that saw 20,000 loyal fans flood the Sultan Mohamad IV Stadium in Kota Baharu.The professional football league in this country was started in 1995 and has seen several changes in regulations and there was also the introduction of the Super League in 2004 - BERNAMA