Malaysian Super League
Number of Teams: 14
Relegation to: Malaysia Premier League
Domestic Cups: Malaysia Cup, Malaysia FA Cup
Current Champions: Kelantan FA
Most number of Championships: Kedah FA (2)
The Malaysian Super League, in its current form, has only been around since 2004. However, a domestic football league has existed in Malaysia since 1979.
Originally it was intended to be primarily a qualifying tournament for the final knock-out stages of the Malaysia Cup. I wasn’t until 1982 that a League Cup was introduced to recognise the winner of the preliminary stages as the league champion.
Initially the only teams that were able to participate in the league were state FA’s, teams representing the Armed Forces and Police and teams from neighbouring countries (Singapore and Brunei). In more recent years the FAM has allowed top Malaysian clubs to enter the league.
When the Malaysian Super League began in 2004 it only had 8 clubs, who played 21 matches over three rounds. The first two rounds were done on a home and away basis, while the third round was hosted by a single stadium. That stadium would be whichever had the highest attendance across the first two rounds.
The formation of the Super League wasn’t well received by everyone, with some saying that it was essentially the same as the M-League (which it replaced) only with fewer teams. There was also consternation over the constant changes to the format of the league.
For the 2009 season the FAM expanded the league from 8 teams to 14, the number of its predecessor, the M-League. One change that created waves at the time was the decision to ban foreign players from the league. The FAM did this with the, some would say, misguided intention of improving the quality of local players. The reasoning being that with more opportunities for local players the standard of the local players would improve.