ASEAN Super League set to kick off in early 2016

The long-awaited ASEAN Super League (ASL) could become a reality in the next two years, Football Association of Singapore (FAS) president Zainudin Nordin announced on Friday evening.

An ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) taskforce, headed by Zainudin, is set to meet FIFA in two weeks’ time to finalize plans for the ASL.

These latest developments were revealed by Zainudin at the FAS’ 32nd Annual General Meeting (AGM).

“We’re in the progress mode right now because we’ve gotten clearance at the AFF and AFC (Asian Football Confederation) level,” he said.

“Now we’re at the FIFA level and they’re looking at our papers. In two weeks’ time, I and the whole committee will be there and we’ll be doing a major presentation to them.

“After that, it’s in their court to decide. Our aim is to get something in principle so that we can move forward.”

The committee is looking at having an 18-team league and a concurrent cup competition which will run for 10 months from early 2016 onwards.

There will be an representative from each Southeast Asian country, while the ‘bigger boys’ like Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia could have up to two teams.

“We’ve been working on the rules and regulations for a long time,” Zainudin revealed.

“A lot has been done and all the FAs (Football Associations) have signed on. We’re now ahead of the curve and once we get approval, we will move forward.”

For now, the committee is focused on sorting out matters regarding the quality of teams, as well as licensing issues.    

“We want to ensure the participating teams do not affect the image or the running of the league,” Zainudin said.

“We don’t want a club which claims they can participate but after 3 games, they withdraw. We need to have stability in the league.”

“While we want all the countries to participate, there’re still licensing issues,” FAS General Secretary Winston Lee echoed.

“Every country can submit a team, but they must qualify for it. For example in terms of stadiums and infrastructure, Philippines and Timor Leste are still looking to build new stadiums. 

“Also we need to look at the type of foreign players which they’re bringing in. These are details which we need to sort out.”