Yesterday, the Football Malaysia Limited Liability Partnership (FMLLP) announced that the Liga Malaysia would be transformed into a five league system starting next season, with 24 local leagues played at the lowest division, known as Liga M5.
Champions of the Liga M5 would be promoted to the upper the tier Liga M4 in 2019, which will see 24 teams participating, and in 2020 when the pyramid as seen below is already completed, would see teams relegated and promoted like what is practiced in the current Liga Malaysia which consist of only Liga Super, Liga Premier and Liga FAM.
Interestingly, the lowest league, the Liga M5 would consist of social clubs as well as teams participating in each state football competition, making it a huge league which consist of a lot of local community based teams which will likely represent an organisation, district or even division.
This therefore would mean there is somewhat a duplication of the Liga BolaSepak Rakyat (LBR) which now consist of teams for districts in Malaysia.
It is also noted that the Crown Prince of Johor, Tunku Ismail (TMJ) is not a huge fan of the LBR competition, once cited as saying the league is one of the most corrupt in the nation.
Therefore, while it may not be directly said during the announcement of the Liga Malaysia structure yesterday, we highly believe that the introduction of two more leagues in the Liga Malaysia would spell the end of the LBR, hence making this season’s competition the last one.
The way we see it, the introduction of the Liga M5 would cause the LBR to be unattractive to teams looking to play in the Liga Super one day as the Liga M5 offers them better prospects in terms of promotion and financial stability.
This would spell the end of the LBR due to the lack of teams as we do not believe small teams, be it social football clubs, or division or district teams, would have the budget to run two separate teams for both the Liga M5 and LBR.
Our assumption is however based on the assumption that the Liga M5 and Liga M4 would be played a whole season (like the LBR), and not a short term season like what is happening to the Piala Sarawak competition which is a ‘abrupt’ competition.
Anyway, since no decision on the future of LBR has been discussed since the announcement of the five tier Liga Malaysia, we all have to just wait and see what’s going to happen in the next three years.
Either way, we are personally excited about the five tier league set-up which is almost equal to the English League, and this will definitely help develop local community based football, which is the way to go.