M-League to go on for now despite Sabah Covid-19 surge

The M-League will go on as scheduled despite a spike of Covid-19 cases, specifically in Sabah in recent weeks.

The Borneo state recorded over 1,000 Covid-19 cases since Sept 1, with the Targeted Enhanced Movement Control Order (TEMCO) imposed today in several districts, including Lahad Datu and Tawau.

FA of Malaysia (FAM) president Datuk Hamidin Amin told Twentytwo13 the national body has been monitoring the situation closely and held talks with stakeholders, including the Health Ministry and Malaysia Football League.

FAM has been assured that there is no need to postpone the league yet as strict standard operating procedures are in place.

“We have been communicating with several quarters and also the team. The Sabah players have undergone swab tests as they fly to Johor tonight for their upcoming match,” said Hamidin.

“We have been told that the swab test results will take at least three days. Everything is being done in accordance with the advice by the health authorities and SOPs.

“If we sense there is an issue, we will not hesitate to postpone the league.”

The 2020 season was disrupted after the government imposed a partial lockdown on March 18. The Super and Premier Leagues only resumed late last month. The final matches of the Premier League will be held on Oct 9 while the Super League ends on Oct 10.

Sabah hosted Melaka United in a Super League match over the weekend. The Sabahans won 3-2.

Sabah will play Johor Darul Ta’zim in Johor Bahru while Melaka United will take on Kedah in Alor Setar on Friday.

Malaysia Football League chief executive officer Datuk Ghani Ab Hassan also assured players that steps have been taken to safeguard the welfare of the footballers, coaches and officials as matches are played behind closed doors.

“There are no issues. Once the results are out, they can play. There will be no disruption to the M-League schedule.

There is concern about those who travelled to Sabah –, whether the initial swab test minus the quarantine will be sufficient.

The Sivagangga cluster saw Covid-19 cases erupting in Kedah last month. The man responsible for the spread, Nezar Mohamed Sabur Batcha, 57, initially tested negative for the coronavirus.

The nasi kandar restaurant owner disobeyed a quarantine order and visited his shop. As a result, the number of Covid-19 cases shot up with several areas in Kedah placed under TEMCO.
To that, Ghani said: “We are following the SOP which has been placed by the government. There is no quarantine.

“The Melaka United players got back yesterday and they did their swab test in Sabah and were allowed to return.”