Limited fans for Malaysia soccer showdowns


Malaysia prepares return of fans Image: Johor FA

The Government of Malaysia, in an announcement made recently, has said that up to 8,000 fans or 25 percent of the stadium capacity, whichever is lower, will be allowed into the stadia fold to support the respective football teams from April 1st, 2021 for States under the recovery movement control order (MCO).

‘The Star’ stated that those under the conditional movement control order (MCO), up to 2,000 spectators or 10 percent of the stadium capacity or whichever that is lower, will be allowed.

The Malaysian Government Movement Control Order, commonly referred to as the MCO or PKP, is a cordon sanitaire implemented on March 18th, 2020 as a preventive measure by the Federal Government of Malaysia in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

The above decision comes just a year after all stadia were closed to fans in Malaysia, like in other parts of the world, due to the COVID-19 pandemic which is continuing to bare its fangs in most parts of the globe.

The Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican however said that initially they have identified two locations for pilots – the 40,000-capacity Sultan Ibrahim Stadium in Johor Baru and the 18,000-capacity Kuala Lumpur Football Stadium in Cheras – both in Malaysia.

“Two football matches in the Malaysian Football League (MFL) will be allowed first on a trial basis to evaluate the effectiveness of the audience management protocol,” informed Reezal.

The Sultan Ibrahim Stadium will stage the soccer showdown between the Malaysian Super League clubs Johor Darul Ta’zim F.C. and Melaka United Football Club on April 2nd, 2021 while Malaysian Super League clubs Kuala Lumpur City Football Club will clash against Sabah F.C. on April 3rd.

Added Reezal, “Proper planning needs to be done by MFL and clubs or venues involved in the near future and everything should be streamlined well ahead of time. Welcome to the stadium, 12 players! We still have not won the war against COVID-19. Ensure safety and compliance of standard operating procedure (SOP) at all times for our own benefit.”

‘The Star’ further stated that the Malaysia Football League Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Datuk Ab Ghani Hassan was happy that there would no longer be an eerie kind of silence in the venues and it would roar again with the cheers of fans.

“We would like to thank the Government on allowing spectators to enter the stadium. This decision will inject life into the League and clubs,” maintained Hassan.

“The last time fans were allowed was before the MCO in March last year when coronavirus struck the world and started its devastation. The stadia have been quiet for a year now without the cheers of the spectators. The above decision was much awaited and welcomed,” he added.

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