Footballers must follow SOPs at all costs

PETALING JAYA: Professional football players and coaches have pledged to be extra vigilant during the Covid-19 to ensure the survival of the Malaysian League.

While happy with the opportunity to play again, the football community have promised to work together to maintain the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and prevent any irresponsible behaviour.

The league will kickoff on March 5 with defending champions Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) taking on Kedah in the Charity Shield, which will be held at the Sultan Ibrahim Stadium.

Perak centreback and captain Shahrul Saad said it felt good to be with his teammates again but reminded everyone to strictly follow the guidelines.

“If training and matches go well without any problems, then the sports sector can slowly start moving again, ” he said.

“We are now based at the Chemor Mini Stadium, and all the players are doing their best to comply with strict SOPs set by the authorities.

“We do not mind all these restrictions at all because we all want the game to go on.”

Penang’s experienced defender Abdul Latiff Suhaimi admitted the latest SOP was tighter but manageable.

“We can’t take it lightly and violate the SOP.

“This advise is not only for me, but my teammates, the other teams and management too, ” said Latiff.

“If one person is infected with the virus, it will affect the Malaysian League.

“All parties are waiting for the league to restart and we should not jeopardise it.

“I just want to shout to all – just follow the SOP set by the National Security Council if you love football.

“We must ensure that our league is carried out without any issues this season.”

On Thursday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Muhyiddin Yassin said that national football should be given a new lease of life and re-strengthened.

He is aware that the Covid-19 pandemic had affected the development and activities of the country’s number one sport.

He acknowledged that football is not only focused on the Malaysian League under the supervision of Football Association of Malaysia but there are other activities across different levels which involves sports industry.