FEEDER clubs should not be allowed to play in the Premier League.
By having too many feeder clubs in the Premier League, it will make the second-tier competition less competitive.
Next season, PKNS and Perak SEDC will join Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT II) and Terengganu FC II (TFC II) in the Premier League as feeder clubs.
Based on regulations, feeder clubs cannot play in the Super League and the Malaysia Cup even if they qualify on merit from the 12-team Premier League.
With only the remaining eight teams fighting for promotion and Malaysia Cup spots next season, fans will definitely lose interest as it will be boring while sponsors might shun the concerned clubs and competition.
The Malaysia Football League (MFL) endorsed Selangor and Perak’s applications to turn PKNS and Perak SEDC into reserve teams recently.
It normally takes a year before a club can be converted into a feeder but their applications were fast-tracked following an appeal to the MFL board, headed by their president Datuk Hamidin Amin.
I am not against the feeder club concept, but these teams should only be allowed to play in the M3 League together with other privately-run clubs.
It is okay to play in the Premier League if there are around 20 teams but having only 12, with four being feeder clubs, it defeats the purpose in trying to promote the M-League to the world.
By having too many feeder clubs in a 12-team competition, we will see many players securing full-time jobs or venturing into business as there will be fewer opportunities for them to play for a team.
The quality of the league will also be affected as feeder clubs will field their development players in matches.
PKNS and Perak SEDC had no choice and were at the mercy of their parent clubs as they depended on their respective states for the budget to compete in the M-League.
If they had gone against the states, their funding would have been taken away and they would be forced to look for sponsors.
However, many other teams in the league are in a similar predicament. Most teams, except for Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT), depend on state government funding.
Having only one source of funding is not good in modern football.
However, the concept of having more privately-funded clubs in the country does not work in Malaysia.
In the past, many clubs closed shops as their sponsors lost interest or they were funded by bookies.
MFL have come up with many initiatives, and it is hoped that one day we will have many self-sustaining teams.
Sadly, it will not happen in the next few seasons.
At the expense of PKNS, who finished ninth in the Super League last season, UiTM FC will play top-tier football for the first time next year.
However, I have my doubts whether UiTM, who finished fifth in the Premier League last season, will have the financial clout to buy top players and take on the best teams in the league.
Having feeder clubs in competitions is good for development, but they should be placed in lower-tier competitions instead of the Premier League.