CITING that health is paramount, PJ City youth coach K. Gunalan agrees with FAM’s proposal to cancel this season’s President’s Cup and Youth Cup, as well as state leagues due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The former international, who handles PJ City’s Under-21 (President’s Cup) squad, said although standard operating procedures (SOPs) will be in place, it is still risky as football is a physical game.
“FAM should cancel age-group competitions. If the competitions restart, then there should be a comprehensive SOP. Matches must also be playing behind closed doors.
“I think it would be difficult to do so in terms of venues as the authorities will also have to accommodate M-League matches if the competition restarts in September,” said Gunalan.
For the record, most President’s Cup and Youth Cup matches are played in open fields, which will make it difficult for FAM to implement the SOPs, including banning fans from the games.
“I have 23 players and I am not sure whether any of them have been infected by the virus. We will only know if the club get everyone tested, including all senior and youth players.
“But we are talking about testing 70 players and officials or so at the club.
“The safety of players is more important. I do not want to see any of my players losing their life. It would be bad for the club and the national body if it happens,” said the former national centre-back.
If the President’s Cup is cancelled this year, next year’s competition will be turned into an Under-22 event.
FAM will also propose to the Malaysian Football League (MFL) to allow M-League teams absorb players from their youth clubs for the Super League or Premier League and the Malaysia Cup if the season restarts in September.
If youth competitions are cancelled and FAM’s proposal to MFL is approved, Gunalan said he will recommend several youth players to PJ City senior coach K. Devan for the M-League.
“Three of my players are already with Devan’s squad. However, I have at least three more players from my squad, who is good enough to join our senior squad,” he added.
FAM have sent out circulars to FAs and clubs for feedback on their proposal to cancel the President’s Cup and Youth Cup.
No decision has been made yet by the national body.