Malaysia Super League
The Malaysia Super League (Malay: Liga Super Malaysia), is the men's top professional football division of the Malaysia football league system. Administered by the Football Malaysia Limited Liability Partnership (FMLLP), now known as the Malaysia Football League (MFL), Malaysia Super League is contested by 12 teams, with the two lowest-placed teams relegated to the Malaysia Premier League division and replaced by the top two teams in that division.
|Organising body||Malaysia Football League (MFL)|
|Founded||14 February 2004|
|Number of teams||12 (from 2013)|
|Level on pyramid||1|
|Relegation to||Malaysia Premier League|
|Domestic cup(s)||Malaysia FA Cup|
Piala Sumbangsih(Charity Shield)
|International cup(s)||AFC Champions League|
|Current champions||Johor Darul Ta'zim (5th title)|
|Most championships||Johor Darul Ta'zim (5 titles)|
|Top goalscorer||Indra Putra Mahayuddin (102)|
|2019 Malaysia Super League|
31 clubs have competed since the inception of the Malaysia 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.
Liga Super was formed in 2004 following the decision by the Football Association of Malaysia to privatize the league. The inaugural season started in 14 February 2004 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 privatized.
The league has seen numerous changes to its format from eight clubs to now 14 clubs to accommodate changes to the league rules and withdrawal of certain clubs from the league in order to create a competitive environment and professional management among the clubs.
The Malaysian league was revamped to be a fully professional league in 2004 which coined the creation of new top-tier division, Malaysia Super League. Between 2004 to 2006, the professional football league in Malaysia was divided into two levels and two groups:
- Top tier: Malaysia Super League (8 teams)
- Second tier: Malaysia Premier League Group A (8 teams)
- Second tier: Malaysia Premier LeagueGroup B (8 teams)
- Third tier: FAM Cup
The new top-tier league, Malaysia Super League was competed by eight teams while there were 16 teams competing in Malaysia Premier League 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 clubs to a relegation dogfight. Similarly, successive wins would put a team in contention for the title. The Malaysia Super League has gone through two format changes in its short history spanning three-years. The Football Association of Malaysia decided to expand the Malaysia Super League to accommodate 14 teams instead of eight, which was the number of league teams in the Malaysia Super League'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).
For 2007 season, where Malaysia Premier League 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: Malaysia Super League
- Second tier: Malaysia Premier League
- Third tier: FAM League
In 2015, FMLLP was created in the course of fully privatization of the Malaysian football league system. The partnership saw all 24 teams of Malaysia Super League and Malaysia Premier League 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.
FMLLP owns, operates and runs Malaysia Super League. Beside that, other competition in Malaysian football also under its jurisdiction, which include the Malaysia Premier League, the Malaysia FA Cup, the Malaysia Cup, and the Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Cup. It aims to transform and move Malaysian football forward to the next level.
A decade after the league's inception, a total of eight clubs have been crowned champions of Malaysia Super League 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 Malaysia Super League three times in a row.
Competition format and regulationsEdit
The competition format follows the usual double round-robin format. During the course of a season, which lasts from February to July, each club plays every other club twice, once at home and once away, for 22 matchdays, totaling 132 matches in the season. Most games are played on Saturdays, with a few games played during weekdays. Teams receive three points for a win, one point for a draw, and no points for a loss. Teams are ranked by total points, with the highest-ranked club at the end of the season crowned champion.
Promotion and relegationEdit
A system of promotion and relegation exists between the Malaysia Super League and the Malaysia Premier League. The two lowest placed teams in Malaysia Super League are relegated to the Malaysia Premier League, and the top two teams from the Malaysia Premier League promoted to Malaysia Super League. Below is a complete record of how many teams played in each season throughout the league's history;
Number of clubs throughout the yearsEdit
|Period (in years)||No. of clubs|
Qualification for AFC competitionsEdit
The champion in Malaysia Super League qualify for the subsequent season's AFC Champions League Group Stage. The winners of the Malaysia FA Cup also qualify for the subsequent season's AFC Champions League play-off slots. If this club lost on the play-off slots and unable to reach group stage, this club will play in AFC Cup play-off slots.
The number of places allocated to Malaysia clubs in AFC competitions is dependent upon the association ranking, which are calculated based upon the performance of teams in AFC Champions League and the AFC Cup, as well as their national team's FIFA World Rankings in the previous 4 years. Currently the ranking of Malaysia is 13th.
Club licensing regulationsEdit
Every team in the Malaysia Super League must have a licence to play in the league in the competition, 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 Malaysia Super League will be required to obtained FAM Club Licensing.
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 MAlaysia Super League fully by the end of 2018 and Malaysia Premier League by end of 2019.. There are significant benefits to being in the top division and readiness of the club licensing:
- A greater share of television broadcast licence revenues goes to clubs.
- Greater exposure through television and higher attendance levels helps clubs attract the most lucrative sponsorship.
- Club develop substantial financial muscle through the combination of television and gate revenues, sponsorship and marketing of their team brands. This allows clubs 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.
32 clubs have played in the Malaysia Super League from its inception in 2004, up to and including the 2019 season
Champions, Runner-up and Third placeEdit
Wins by the clubsEdit
|Johor Darul Ta'zim||5||2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018|
The following 12 teams contest the league in its current season, including the top 10 sides from the 2018 season and two promoted from the 2018 Malaysia Premier League. FELDA United and MISC-MIFA are the two clubs promoted directly from the second tier division. FELDA United promoted after securing place as champions, while MISC-MIFA promoted as third-place in 2018 Malaysia Premier League due to Felcra F.C. withdrawn from the competition.
|First season in
|First season in
|First season of
current spell in
|Title wins||Last |
|Johor Darul Ta'zim||1st||2002||2006–07||2||13||2006–07||5||2018|
|FELDA United||1st in Premier League||—||2011||0||7||2019||0||—|
|Petaling Jaya City||3rd in Premier League||—||2019||0||1||2019||0||—|
Remark : Top division means highest football competition in Malaysia which include Malaysian League (1982–1988), Semi-Pro League (1989-1993), Premier League (1994–97) and Premier League One (1998–2003).
The following clubs are not competing in the Malaysia Super League during the 2019 season, but competed in the Malaysia top division or Malaysia Super League for at least one season.
in 2018 season
|First season in
|First season in
|Title wins||Last |
|Kelantan||Premier League||11th in Super League||1982||2009||16||10||2018||2||2012|
|Negeri Sembilan||Premier League||12th in Super League||1982||2005–06||18||9||2018||1||2006|
|Penang||Premier League||10th in Premier League||1982||2004||19||9||2017||3||2001|
|Perlis Northern Lions||Premier League||5th in FAM League (Group B)||1982||2004||17||8||2011||1||2005|
|Sarawak||Premier League||8th in Premier League||1988||2004||15||8||2017||1||1997|
|Terengganu II||Premier League||11th in Premier League||—||2010||0||7||2017||0||—|
|PDRM||Premier League||5th in Premier League||—||2007–08||0||4||2016||0||—|
|Sabah||Premier League||6th in Premier League||1982||2004||19||4||2012||1||1996|
|ATM||FAM League||3rd in FAM League (Group A)||1982||2014||7||3||2015||0||—|
|Telekom Malaysia||Defunct (2007)||—||2003||2005-06||1||3||2006–07||0||—|
|Sime Darby||KLFA Division 1||unknown||—||2014||0||2||2015||0||—|
|DPMM||Singapore Premier League||3rd in Singapore Premier League||—||2006-07||0||2||2007–08||0||—|
|PLUS||KLFA Division 1||unknown||—||2009||0||2||2010||0||—|
|Public Bank||Defunct (2006)||—||—||2004||0||2||2005||0||—|
|Johor Darul Ta'zim II||Premier League||4th in Premier League||1982||2010||18||1||2010||1||1991|
|Harimau Muda A||Defunct (2015)||—||—||2011||0||1||2011||0||—|
|Kuala Muda NAZA||Kedah League||unknown||—||2009||0||1||2009||0||—|
Remark : Top division means highest football competition in Malaysia which include Malaysian League (1982–1988), Semi-Pro League (1989-1993), Premier League (1994–97) and Premier League One (1998–2003).
Privatisation of league football clubsEdit
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.
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..
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.
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. 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. 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.
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. 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. 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.
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.
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. 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.
The Liga Super logo which has been used for 2011 season.
The Liga Super logo used for 2012 season.
The logo used for 2015 season.
Logo and trophyEdit
The current Malaysia Super League logo was formed as a part of rebranding for title sponsorship reason with TM under the Unifi brand. TM’s Unifi brand is the new title sponsor for the Malaysia Super League and Malaysia Cup following an eight-year partnership deal worth RM480mil until 2025. But, TM has planned to give up a sponsor at year 2019 in order to save cost.
The Malaysia Super League trophy which are competed for during the season by 12 clubs in the competition. Designed to be futuristic and elegant, the new trophy depicts a football on a pedestal, perhaps reflecting the importance placed on winning the Malaysia Super League. The source said, it cost not more than RM200,000 (USD 48597.00)
Standing at a height of 63.3 centimeters and 25.2cm in diameter, the 20 kilogram trophy is made of copper, silver and 24 carat pure gold. The trophy was designed and crafted to precision by the Royal goldsmith in Johor, taking eight months from the initial design phase to completion. The gold portions are to symbolise the exclusivity of winning the Malaysia Super League after enduring a tough long successful campaign. It will be inspired to battle with all their might to get their name on the trophy.
|2004||Dunhill||Dunhill Liga Super|
|2005–10||TM||TM Liga Super|
|2011||No sponsor||Liga Super|
|2012–14||Astro||Astro Liga Super Malaysia|
|2015–17||No sponsor||Liga Super Malaysia|
|2018–19||Unifi||Unifi Liga Super Malaysia|
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.
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. 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.
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. 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.
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. 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 2019, after Unifi TV not renewed the contract, all 132 MSL matches is currently aired free by iflix. One match per week (total 22 matches) plus one Charity Cup match also aired free by Media Prima, that means Media Prima shows 23 matches.
|2005 only||Malay||Media Prima||NTV7|
||iflix||Football Malaysia on iflix|
|2004-2015 and 2018||Malay||RTM||TV1|
|2006-2015 and 2018||TV2|
|RTM HD Sports|
|Unifi TV||Hypp Sports HD|
|Rank||Player||Malaysia Super League Club(s)||Appearances|
All-time top scorersEdit
- As of 18 May 2019
|Rank||Player||Malaysia Super League Club(s)||Goals|
|1||Indra Putra Mahayuddin||Kelantan (41), Pahang (29), T-Team (11), Kuala Lumpur (12), Felda United (6), FA Selangor (3)||102|
|2||Ashari Samsudin||Terengganu (81), Pahang (3)||84|
|3||Norshahrul Idlan Talaha||UPB-MyTeam (14), Kelantan (36),
Johor Darul Ta'zim (8), Armed Forces (1), Terengganu (2), Felda United (4), Pahang (5)
|3||Mohd Amri Yahyah||FA Selangor (60), Johor Darul Ta'zim (10)||70|
|5||Marlon Alex James||Kedah (43), ATM (17)||60|
|6||Francis Forkey Doe||Terengganu (15), FA Selangor (18), Kelantan (5), Felda United (15), Pahang (5)||58|
|6||Baddrol Bakhtiar||Kedah (58)||58|
|7||Mandjou Keita||Perak TBG (49), Kelantan (4),||53|
|7||Mohd Fadzli Saari||53|
|7||Safee Sali||FA Selangor (36), Johor Darul Ta'zim (6), PKNS (9), Petaling Jaya City FC (2)||53|
|11||Phillimon Chepita||Perlis Northern Lions (52)||52|
Golden Boot winnersEdit
Foreign players and transfer regulationsEdit
Foreign players policy has changed multiple times since the league inception. 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. Foreign players were only allowed be back to the league starting from the 2012 season onwards.
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 Malaysia Super League.
- 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.
Records and achievementsEdit
All data available to the public starting from the beginning of 2015 season.
|Season||Overall Attendance||Top 3||Bottom 3|
|2015||883,225||6,691||Johor Darul Ta'zim||184,198||16,745||ATM FA||22,750||2,068|
|Pahang||107,693||9,790||Sime Darby FC||17,960||1,633|
|2016||902,643||6,838||Johor Darul Ta'zim||191,982||17,453||PDRM||32,950||2,995|
|Perak The Bos Gaurus||121,687||11,062||Sarawak||22,892||2,081|
|2017||872,108||6,607||Johor Darul Ta'zim||187,557||17,051||Sarawak||35,206||3,201|
Source: Football Association of Malaysia Management Database
Clubs ranking in AsiaEdit
The final ranking position(s) for each participating MSL clubs in AFC Club Competitions.
|68||18.294||Johor Darul Ta'zim|
|2016||45||30.142||Johor Darul Ta'zim|
|2017||34||38.95||Johor Darul Ta'zim|
|2018||23||48.70||Johor Darul Ta'zim|
*Bold denotes the highest ranked club for each year at the end of the season.
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