The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) are trying to get an AFC Cup slot for Malaysian teams, in the case the club competing in the Asian Champions League (ACL) qualifiers fails to make it to the tournament proper.
“From next season, one team from Malaysia (Johor Darul Ta’zim) will play in the ACL, while another (either Pahang FA or Perak FA) will have to get through the qualifiers. In the case the Malaysian team fails in the qualifiers, they will be out completely,” FAM general-secretary Stuart Ramalingam told Harian Metro.
“I don’t think it is good for the development of Malaysian football, especially for an up and coming country like us. Which is why FAM are pushing to get an automatic slot for the team who fails in the qualifiers to play in the AFC.”
Malaysia’s elevated member association ranking have enabled an automatic slot for the Malaysia Super League champions.
Before this, JDT had fallen several times in the ACL qualifiers, but still had the solace of the AFC Cup to look forward to.
But the team who will compete in the ACL qualifiers has yet to be determined.
Pahang were supposed to make the cut by the virtue of being FA Cup champions, but they were banned by FAM for two years from competing in any Asian club competition after turning down the invite to play in this year’s AFC Cup.
FAM have relented since and allowed Pahang to make an appeal, but the Elephants have yet to do so.
Should Pahang not take up the slot, then Perak will qualify as the next best team to play in the qualifiers by virtue of league runners-up.
Perak are understood to have sent all the documentation needed to play in the qualifiers to the Asian Football Confederation.