The Evolution Of The Malaysian Football League

By Peter C

The history of the Malaysian Football League system is extensive and diverse, with the game having been introduced to the country by the British and rapidly gaining popularity among the locals, proving that soccer truly is a universal sport.

Although the official league started in Malaysia in 1982, it took another seven years before the country started what could be called a semi-professional league.

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The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM), which is still the official body managing the Malaysian Football League, organized the first professional league for the country in 1994. In 1998, the FAM divided the league into two to make the Malaysian football system more competitive and ensure the participation of different football clubs.

After that, the MPL 1 and MPL 2 divisions were created. And to ensure that these leagues get enough funding, FAM decided to privatize them in 2003. After that, the new owners renamed the two leagues Super League and the Premier League.

In 2008, the FAM and States leagues were established as the 3rd and 4th branches of this football league. To allow for more inclusive participation, both leagues were later restructured and renamed M3 and M4, respectively.

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Currently, there are four official tiers of the Malaysian football league system. Approximately 12 squads participate in the Malaysian Super League (MSL), which is the top division of the entire league. The champions of the MSL earn a spot in the AFC Champions League, which is a yearly competition arranged by the AFC.