M-League to return, J.League hit by outbreak

(Image Credit: Malaysia Football League website)

Malaysia’s top football league, the M-League, will resume games on August 26 after a five-month gap due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

M-League matches will take place without the presence of spectators, Malaysian news agency Bernama reported.

Government minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said: “The decision was taken after taking into account the advice from the Ministry of Health, and the organiser must ensure that all the stipulated guidelines are complied with.”

The 2020 M-League has been suspended since March 16 due to Covid-19.

The Hong Kong Football Association meanwhile has voted to complete the 2019-20 domestic Premier League season which has been suspended since March due to Covid-19.

The HKFA said after its board meeting on August 13 that it had rejected a proposed “bubble” plan that would see teams play at a centralised venue because of the high costs involved.

FA chairman Pui Kwan-kay said: “We have made a quick calculation and the bubble plan would cost over HK$10m ($1.29m/€1.09m) for a period of six weeks to complete the season, I don’t think we can afford it.”

Four of the league’s ten teams – Pegasus, BC Rangers, Yuen Long and Tai Po – have already withdrawn from 2019-20 season due to financial concerns.

In Japan, J.League club Sagan Tosu’s next three league matches have been postponed after 10 individuals, including manager Kim Myung Hwi, tested positive for Covid-19.

According to J.League guidelines, those who have had close contact with infected persons are required to remain at home, even if they have tested negative. The league is looking to revise its guidelines following the outbreak.

“Our main focus is to contain the spread of infection, and not on playing games or training,” J.League chairman Mitsuru Murai said.