Earlier last month it was this….

Companies have been reported to be enthusiastic to sponsor the Malaysian leagues, following the national squad’s gold medal success at the Laos SEA Games last year. The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) secretary-general, Mr Azzuddin Ahmad, told Bernama recently that the teams success has stirred the interest of companies in associating themselves to the sport.

Azzuddin was reported to have said that FAM would set the sponsorship criteria based on the amount pledged and the background of the companies. However, he explained that FAM would not “sideline our friend, Telekom Malaysia Bhd, who have been very generous in sponsoring Malaysian leagues all this while.”

 Funny thing though…

The fixtures have been drawn up, but the cross-causeway tournament involving S-League sides and Malaysian clubs, set to kick off next month, could be derailed by financial difficulties.

Both the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) and the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) had expressed their keen interest in kicking off the FAS-FAM tourney this year.

The competition, contested by three club sides from each country, was scheduled to take place during the World Cup to keep players sharp and rekindle some of the old Malaysia Cup excitement.

The competition is likely to feature both the two leagues’ top two sides of 2009 (SAFFC and Tampines Rovers from Singapore; Selangor and Perlis from Malaysia) and the cup winners of the domestic cup competition (Geylang United and Negri Sembilan).

But, while the dates have been set aside, neither federation has confirmed which teams will be competing.

“We are still looking for sponsors for this event, and if we can’t find parties to finance it, then it won’t happen this year, but next year instead,” said FAM secretary-general Datuk Azzuddin Ahmad.

“We have set ourselves a June deadline to work on this.”

Added FAS general secretary Winston Lee: “This is a prestigious competition, and on our end we have interested sponsors lined up, but we have to work in tandem with FAM for this tournament to be a success.

“This will be a permanent fixture for the long run. All the necessary infrastructure is in place and both sides want this to happen. Even if it doesn’t start this year, we will do it next year.”

MediaCorp understands that the two associations will meet again in a couple of weeks before making a final decision.