SINGAPORE – Singapore’s four-year stint in the Malaysian Super League came to a screeching halt yesterday (Nov 24) night, after the Republic’s LionsXII football team were unceremoniously ditched following a Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) executive committee meeting.
The FAM reportedly decided not to extend their Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Football Association of Singapore (FAS), signed in 2011, which sees a Singaporean side compete in the Malaysian league for the first time since 1994.
According to reports, the decision was reached following an unanimous vote by members of the FAM executive committee.
The LionsXII will officially exit the league at the end of the Malaysian season on Dec 12. But their departure might come as early as this Saturday, if they fail to overturn a 1-4 first-leg deficit against Pahang in the Malaysia Cup quarter-finals at Jalan Besar Stadium.
With the MoU coming to an end, it also meant that Malaysia’s Under-23 team, Harimau Muda, will no longer play in Singapore’s S-League.
FAM deputy president Afandi Hamzah was quoted as saying on Tuesday night that the decision is “best for both parties”. He added that FAM had not informed FAS of the decision yet. “It is the best way forward,” he said.
Singapore had previously parted ways with Malaysian football in 1994, in acrimonious fashion, after winning the Malaysian League and Cup double.
Their return in 2012, in the form of the LionsXII under coach V Sundramoorthy, saw them finish runners-up in the 12-team MSL behind champions Kelantan.
The following season, they went on to win the MSL title but they finished empty handed in 2014.
This season, led by Fandi Ahmad, the team won the Malaysian FA Cup in May and finished seventh in the league.