|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
|International cup(s)||AFC Cup|
|Current champions||Johor Darul Ta'zim F.C. (4th title)
|Most championships||Johor Darul Ta'zim F.C. (4 titles)|
|TV partners||Media Prima|
|2018 Malaysia Super League|
The Malaysia Super League (Malay: Liga Super Malaysia) is a top-tier professional association football league in Malaysian football league system. Administrated by Football Malaysia Limited Liability Partnership (FMLLP), Liga Super (LS) is contested by 12 clubs and operates on a system of promotion and relegation with the Liga Premier (LP).
The inaugural season started in 14 February 2004. Seasons run from February to October. Seasons start in early February and last until late October, with a Ramadan break for a month. Teams play 22 matches each (playing each team in the league twice, home and away), totalling 132 matches in the season. Most games are played on Saturdays, with a few games played during weekdays.
The competition was formed in 2004 following the decision by the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) to privatise the league. As a result, Malaysia Super League Sendirian Berhad (or MSL Proprietary Limited) was created to oversee the marketing aspects of the league, but it was not fully privatised until 2015, when FMLLP was created in the course of privatisation of the Malaysian football league system. The partnership saw all 24 teams of Liga Super and Liga Premier 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 five entities in Malaysian football under its jurisdiction, which include the Super League, the Premier League, the Malaysia FA Cup, the Malaysia Cup, and the Piala Sumbangsih. It aims to transform and move Malaysian football forward.
The league still retain its name for 2016 season as Liga Super Malaysia without title sponsorship.
While 30 clubs have competed since the inception of the Super League in 2004, only eight have won the title: Johor Darul Ta'zim (4), Kedah, Selangor, Kelantan (2), Pahang, Perlis, Negeri Sembilan, and LionsXII (1). The current champions are Johor Darul Ta'zim, which won the 2017 edition.
Liga Super was formed in 2004 following the decision by the Football Association of Malaysia to privatise the league. 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 privatised.
The league has seen numerous changes to its format from eight teams to 14 teams to accommodate changes to the league rules and withdrawal of certain teams 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, Liga Super.
Between 2004 to 2006, the professional football league in Malaysia was divided into two levels and two groups:
- Top tier: Liga Super (8 teams)
- Second tier: Liga Premier Group A (8 teams)
- Second tier: Liga Premier Group B (8 teams)
- Third tier: Liga FAM
The new top-tier league, Liga Super was competed by eight teams while there were 16 teams competing in Liga Premier 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 teams to a relegation dogfight. Similarly, successive wins would put a team in contention for the title. The Liga Super has gone through two format changes in its short history spanning three-years. The Football Association of Malaysia decided to expand the Liga Super to accommodate 14 teams instead of eight, which was the number of league teams in the Liga Super'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).
Below is the league changed for 2007 season, where Liga Premier 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: Liga Super
- Second tier: Liga Premier
- Third tier: Liga FAM
In 2015, Football Malaysia LLP was created in the course of privatisation of the Malaysian football league system. The partnership saw all 24 teams of Liga Super and Liga Premier 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. The company owns, operates and runs five entities in Malaysian football under its jurisdiction, which include Liga Super, the Liga Premier, the Piala FA, the Piala Malaysia and the Piala Sumbangsih. It aims to transform and move Malaysian football forward.
A decade after the league inception, a total of eight clubs have been crowned champions of Liga Super 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 Liga Super three times in a row.
Club licensing regulations
Every team in the Liga Super must have a licence to play in the league, 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 Liga Super and Liga Premier 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 Liga Super fully by the end of 2018 and Liga Premier by end of 2019.
As in other national leagues, there are significant benefits to being in the top division:
- A greater share of television broadcast licence revenues goes to Liga Super sides.
- Greater exposure through television and higher attendance levels helps Liga Super teams attract the most lucrative sponsorships.
- Liga Super teams develop substantial financial muscle through the combination of television and gate revenues, sponsorships and marketing of their team brands. This allows them 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.
Privatisation of league football clubs
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.
In 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.
In 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 in 19 Ogos 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.
|2004||Dunhill||Dunhill Liga Super|
|2005–10||TM||TM Liga Super|
|2012–14||Astro Media||Astro Liga Super Malaysia|
|2015–17||–||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 2015, Astro lost the broadcasting right for the league where the right was given to Media Prima, a parent company of multiple free-to-air channel alongside the broadcast with RTM. The broadcasting right for 2016 season has been given to Media Prima for 3 years with a maximum of three games in each gameweek will be shown live on television.
|2011–14||Astro Arena, RTM|
|2015||Media Prima (TV3, NTV7, TV9), RTM|
Stadiums and locations
- Note: Table lists in alphabetical order.
|Felda United||Bandar Pusat Jengka||Tun Abdul Razak Stadium||25,000|
|Johor Darul Ta'zim||Johor Bahru||Tan Sri Dato Haji Hassan Yunos Stadium||30,000|
|Kedah||Alor Setar||Darul Aman Stadium||32,387|
|Kelantan||Kota Bharu||Sultan Muhammad IV Stadium||22,000|
|Melaka United||Krubong||Hang Jebat Stadium||40,000|
|Pahang||Kuantan||Darul Makmur Stadium||40,000|
|Penang||Batu Kawan||Penang State Stadium||40,000|
|PKNS||Shah Alam||Shah Alam Stadium||80,372|
|Sarawak||Kuching||Sarawak State Stadium||26,000|
|T–Team||Kuala Terengganu||Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah Stadium||15,000|
Since its inception in 2004, the Liga Super title has seen 8 different teams crowned as champions. Kedah becomes the first club that won the Liga Super title back-to-back, in 2006–07 season and in 2007–08 season. Kelantan also managed to win back-to-back titles in 2011 and 2012. In 2015, Johor Darul Ta'zim became the fourth team to win the titles back-to-back where they won the 2014 and 2015.
|1||Johor Darul Ta'zim||4||2014, 2015, 2016, 2017|
National treble is the achievement given for winning a Malaysia's top tier division which is the Liga Super and its primary cup competition which is the Piala FA and also the Piala Malaysia, the country's one of Asia's oldest footballing tournaments, in the same season.
|Kedah||2006–07||Liga Super, Piala FA, Piala Malaysia|
|Kedah||2007–08||Liga Super, Piala FA, Piala Malaysia|
|Kelantan||2012||Liga Super, Piala FA, Piala Malaysia|
National double is the achievement given for winning Malaysia's top tier division which is the Liga Super and its primary cup competition which is the Piala FA or Piala Malaysia in the same season.
|Selangor||2009||Liga Super, Piala FA|
|Johor Darul Ta'zim||2015||Liga Super, AFC Cup|
|Johor Darul Ta'zim||2016||Liga Super, Piala FA|
|Johor Darul Ta'zim||2017||Liga Super, Piala Malaysia|
Number of appearances
Included the current 15th season of Liga Super.
|4||Johor Darul Ta'zim||2018||12|
|28||Harimau Muda A||2011||1|
|28||Kuala Muda NAZA||2009||1|
Golden Boot winners
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||JDT FC||184,198||16,745||ATM FA||22,750||2,068|
|Kelantan FA||108,696||9,881||PDRM FA||22,300||2,027|
|Pahang FA||107,693||9,790||Sime Darby FC||17,960||1,633|
|2016||902,643||6,838||JDT FC||191,982||17,453||PDRM FA||32,950||2,995|
|Perak FA||121,687||11,062||Sarawak FA||22,892||2,081|
|Kedah FA||103,421||9,402||T-Team FC||20,210||1,837|
|2017||872,108||6,607||JDT FC||187,557||17,051||Sarawak FA||35,206||3,201|
|Kedah FA||161,626||14,693||PKNS FC||30,234||2,749|
|Pahang FA||82,964||7,542||T-Team FC||11,995||1,090|
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 Liga Super.
- 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.
Club Ranking in Asia
AFC Club Ranking
The final ranking position(s) for each participating MSL clubs in AFC Club Competitions.
|68||18.294||Johor Darul Ta'zim F.C|
|2016||45||30.142||Johor Darul Ta'zim F.C.|
|2017||34||38.95||Johor Darul Ta'zim F.C.|
|120||5.284||Felda United F.C.|
*Bold denotes the highest ranked club for each year at the end of the season.
- List of Liga Super seasons
- FAM Football Awards
- History of Malaysian football
- Expatriate footballers in Malaysia
- List of Liga Super managers
- List of foreign Malaysian League players
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