No approval from Fifa yet, but ASL confident of being a game-changer
No Fifa approval yet, confirms ASL committee, but it is already working out details of competition
The Asean Super League (ASL) committee has confirmed that it has yet to receive approval from Fifa to allow it to move into the final phase and launch the proposed new elite club competition.
But it is already working to put in place guidelines and rules that will ensure a high level of football when it eventually gets the nod.
Responding to queries from The New Paper yesterday, a spokesman for the committee, which comes under the umbrella of the Asean Football Federation (AFF), said: "At this stage, we can confirm only that the ASL is still undergoing the process of approval by world governing body Fifa."
Any notion that football associations in the region are not united behind the ASL proposal was dispelled, when the spokesman said that "at the last AFF Council meeting, all members pledged their support for the league. That is why we have been working hard towards making the ASL a reality".
The belief among the regional members is that the ASL "will be a game-changer for the sport in the region".
When the ASL was first announced in 2010, the target date for kick-off was set for this year.
In the last 18 months or so, it had been revised to next year.
While a submission has already been made to Fifa, a confirmed launch date will be set only when the world governing body gives the green light.
Fifa had earlier responded to queries from TNP, saying that it "must rely on the existing framework, in particular article. 84 of the Fifa Statutes that requires approval for such leagues at national and confederation level before Fifa's approval", raising questions over whether the all the regional nations were behind the endeavour.
But the AFF's ASL committee, headed by Football Association of Singapore (FAS) president Zainudin Nordin, went further than simply declaring there was unity.
The committee moved to assure the South-east Asia football fraternity that the AFF will ensure a high level of competition, if and when the ASL gets the green light.
"There is a lot of preparation work to be done, and we are working on the various facets of the league in anticipation of Fifa's approval," the committee spokesman said.
"At this point, we will not be commenting on speculation on the teams making up the ASL. However, we can assure you that just as any other professional league in the world, there will be rules and participation agreements for all the teams who will be taking part in the ASL."
It is believed that each of the 12 AFF member nations will be represented by at least one team in the inaugural ASL, but no concrete decision has been made on the format of the competition, or the nature of the clubs that will eventually participate.
While calls have been made for existing club sides in each nation's domestic league to represent their respective countries, there have also been calls for new franchises to be created.
Whichever comes to pass, the AFF is determined to make the ASL a competition that the approximately 600 million football fanatics in South-east Asia can rally around.
"The AFF aims to produce a very good and strong competitive professional league for the Asean region - one that will produce exciting, high-level football action for the fans," said the spokesman.
"And we will ensure that all teams must meet the rules and criteria for competition before their participation is approved."
The AFF aims to produce a very good and strong competitive professional league for the Asean region — one that will produce exciting, high-level football action for the fans.
- A spokesman for the ASL committee