Fifa yet to give approval for Asean Super League
Fifa still to approve proposed elite regional competition, Velappan warns of football overdose
It is pencilled in to kick off next year, but the Asean Super League (ASL) continues to wait for the green light from football's world governing.
Football Association of Singapore (FAS) president Zainudin Nordin is heading the committee on the ASL project and a submission has already been made to Fifa.
But Fifa is not yet ready to give the okay, throwing uncertainty over the kick-off date of the proposed regional elite club-side competition.
Responding to queries from The New Paper, a Fifa spokesman said: "Fifa is still in the process of establishing a suitable regulatory framework for regional leagues. For the time being, Fifa 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."
Fifa's response raises the question whether all parties have signed off on the proposed new competition.
Contacted yesterday, former AFC general secretary Peter Velappan said: "The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League (ACL) and the AFC Cup are the top priority regional club competitions, and maybe it's time for a serious study by the AFC."
The ACL and AFC Cup are regional tournaments that feature the top teams from domestic leagues across the continent, and it remains unclear how the ASL will co-exist with the former two tournaments.
"What competitions help the progress of countries and the AFC, and actually move things forward? Because if (the ASL) doesn't, then maybe it's better for countries to focus on their own national leagues," added Velappan, who warned of football overdose.
"There are only 12 months in a year, and we should have about three months for players, officials and even fans to get a break from football.
"If you ask me, there may be too many tournaments on, distracting a country from what should be its first consideration - it's national league."
Proposed in 2013, the pan-Caribbean league named Major League Football (MLF) was pencilled in for kick off in September.
With only three of the 31 countries in the Caribbean Football Union - Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Haiti - running professional domestic leagues last year, the MLF was aimed at featuring 20 clubs to give players a bigger platform, and the regional game a chance to grow.
A company, the Caribbean Football Trust Limited, was set up to drive the cause and the goal was to offer US$3 million ($4.1m) in prize money for the first year, rising up to US$5m after three years.
The Dominican Republic has since launched its own professional league in March with no further news available on the MLF.
The ASL is believed to have support of all 12 member nations, along with Australia.
The league is expected to feature at least one team from each country and there is much speculation over the format, the number of foreign players, and if existing clubs or a completely new franchise will represent each nation.
"During my time in the AFC, a regional tournament was aimed at encouraging solidarity between the countries involved, and improving the quality of football and players," said Velappan.
"Now it seems there might be far too many tournaments, and I would advise AFC to review tournaments to see if they actually enhance the quality of football in Asia, or not."
"What competitions help the progress of countries and the AFC, and actually move things forward? Because if (the ASL) doesn’t, then maybe it’s better for countries to focus on their own national leagues."
— Peter Velappan