The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) is reportedly considering entering one of its domestic teams into the A-League next season.
According to former Australian international player Dave Mitchell, who has proposed the idea to FAM after receiving the backing from an unnamed A-League consortium, Malaysian authorities are keen on the idea.
“While they agreed it would be difficult for FAM to send a team to the A-League because of the duration and also to assemble the national team for fulltime, they said there are other ways to go round the problem,” Mitchell told the MalayMail.
“Without doubt the possibility of playing in the A-League will help uplift Malaysian football and also give it a new dimension to football in the country.”
The Football Federation of Australia (FFA), however, aren’t sold on the idea.
“FFA’s position on expansion of the A-League is well known. Currently there are no active plans to add new teams while we focus on the stability and sustainability of the competition,” a FFA spokesperson told AAP.
“The idea of having Asian-based teams in the A-League has been floated by third parties, but in practical and policy terms it remains a very difficult proposition.”
Mitchell, who played and managed in Malaysia before retiring, added that he was also given the go-ahead to pitch the idea to with authorities in Thailand and Indonesia.
However, having Malaysia join forces with Australia was his preference. Mitchell also laughed off the idea travel times between Malaysia and Australia would make the proposition impossible.
“In fact, it’s faster to travel to Malaysia than some parts in Australia,” the former Chelsea and Feyenoord player added.
“Cost-wise it will not be an issue as a substantial subsidy is given to participating teams besides travel also taken care of by the Football Federation of Australia.
“The Malaysian team traveling to Australia can play two matches in a trip.
“Besides the benefit of the development of the game it will be a tourism boost for both countries as supporters will travel with the team. Crowds at the stadium is also expected to be at a maximum.”
FAM was unavailable for comment at the time of writing.