Curtains for loss-making Purple League

The Malaysia Purple League which has been bleeding money since its inception in 2014 is no more but a new company led by former player Ho Khek Mong is trying to get another badminton league started.

Ho, who was Ampang Jaya Badminton Club manager in the Purple League, is the chief operating officer of the new entity tasked with finding sponsors.

“A new company has taken over and I’m the COO,” said Ho.

“It is not easy to run a league as Purple League has shown. We hope to start a league but it won’t be easy to find sponsors now due to Covid-19.”

The financial implications of a worldwide shutdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic means many companies are cutting costs and sports sponsorship may take a backseat.

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Separately, Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) development committee chairman Datuk Ng Chin Chai said badminton leagues have been finding it tough to attract sponsors.

“The last season of the Purple League ended in January 2019. Only the junior league was held in September with the senior league supposed to begin later this year. The league has not been making money and has struggled to attract star names,” said Ng.

“It is part of a worldwide trend. Even the Indonesian and Chinese leagues have suffered.

“I heard some Malaysians who played in the last Chinese league have not been paid in full.

“If even a badminton-mad country like China is struggling, what more other nations?”

Ng said the Purple League was useful for the second-tier players but the top players already had a crowded season.

“So it was hard to get the top foreign names to play. Kento Momota was the big draw but he only played a couple of matches as Aeon, which was one of the sponsors, are big supporters of the Japanese national team.”