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Malaysian Football League cancels media rights payment to clubs

The Malaysian Football League announced on Saturday that it wouldn’t be able to pay its clubs a planned second instalment of media rights revenue this year.

The league had planned to distribute a total of RM3m ($720,000/€650,000) to each of the 12 top-tier Super League clubs, and RM1m each to the 11 second-tier Premier League clubs, for the 2019 season. It distributed half this amount in July, RM24m in total, with the rest due to be paid by the end of the year.

After an extraordinary general meeting of the league on Saturday, its president Datuk Hamidun Mohd Amin said: “We have explained to the board and our members that for 2019, we no longer have broadcasting rights money for distribution.

“We will announce, maybe at the beginning of January or as soon as possible, how much will be paid out for next season, without having two separate payments. The amount will be finalised.”

The league’s media rights revenue collapsed this year after main broadcast partner Telekom Malaysia pulled out of its deal in March, before the start of the new season. TM had in 2018 agreed what looked like a landmark, six-year sponsorship and media rights deal worth RM60m per season. The company said it pulled out of the deal because “TM and MFL were unable to agree on several fundamental commercial terms necessary for the intended collaboration.”

The MFL still had two domestic media rights partners this season – OTT platform iFlix and public-service broadcaster RTM. iFlix streamed all Super League matches live under a 10-year deal running from 2018 to 2027. RTM showed two Super League matches per week live. The iFlix deal is understood to be worth considerably less than the TM deal. RTM is not thought to have been paying a significant rights fee.

Also at Saturday’s meeting, MFL president Hamidin said that from 2021 media rights revenue would be distributed only at the end of the year. And the MFL agreed to amend its constitution so that the chief executive will no longer sit on its board of directors.