Malaysian sides told to improve stadia

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 13 (Reuters) - Nine football stadiums in Malaysia have been deemed unacceptable to host league matches as the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) gets tough on venue guidelines.

The FAM has been lenient regarding the quality of pitches and lighting in previous years, but vice-president Hamidin Mohd Amin is ushering in a stricter review.

"The past is the past. As long as I am competition committee chairman, I want the league to run smoothly," he told Malaysia's New Straits Times.

"Matches cannot be played at stadiums which have not complied to FAM and FIFA requirements."

The surfaces of the pitches at the nine stadiums in question have holes and uneven patches, said an inspection report, and their floodlights are too dim.

Affected clubs have until Friday to rectify the problem or otherwise start their seasons later this month at alternative venues, FAM said.