THE Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) Premier League might receive another jolt, as Maybank’s participation hangs on the approval of their budget which will be tabled next week.
The Premier League was rocked when last season’s double champions Ernst and Young confirmed that they will not be competing this season, and if Maybank is floored by their budget, it will be a handicapped league.
“We have every intention of playing in the Premier League, but I can’t confirm our participation right now, because our budget has yet to be approved.
“We will know for sure next week, when the management decides,” said Maybank team manager Abdul Rahim Musa.
The Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) have slated the Premier League to start on Dec 4 and end in January, with six teams playing in the first round, while Division One cham pions UiTM and runners-up ATM Airod are supposed to join in at the knock-out quarter-finals.
But if Malaysia qualify for the World Cup next year, the Premier League will surely have to be postponed, as clubs will lose their best to national duty.
However, Sapura, another big name in the MHL, has already started light training and will field a team.
“We have started recruitment and some light training and will play in the Premier League, however, I am a little worried about the format, as Ernst and Young’s withdrawal will see only seven teams competing,” said Sapura team manager Abdullah Yunus.
The other teams who have been invited by the MHF to play in the Premier League are Tenaga Nasional and Nur Insafi of Penang.
The MHL was incepted in 1987, and at its heydays stadiums used to be packed with spectators.
But in recent years, not only have the fans disappeared but many teams have also vanished for good, and even though the MHF have tried to re-brand it several times, it is heading towards a slow death.