Asean Super League awaits Fifa's understanding and approval
The proposal for the inaugural Asean Super League (ASL) has been sent to Fifa, but until the world governing body understands the plan and approves it, organisers the Asean Football Federation (AFF) cannot kick off the competition.
Football Association of Singapore (FAS) president Zainudin Nordin heads the AFF sub-committee tasked with organising the ASL and, speaking to The New Paper yesterday, he revealed that the most immediate task was to answer Fifa's queries.
"Fifa has come back with a clear response (to the proposal) and they have questions we have to answer to. We have to go through this process and once we get their approval, we can move forward," he said.
The ASL is a proposal by the AFF and its marketing partners World Sport Group, and the regional competition will feature at least one club from each Asean country, with a targeted 16 to compete in the inaugural season.
With each club expected to spend around $6 million per year, organisers believe the ASL can attract huge fan and sponsor interest in football-mad South-east Asia.
TNP had earlier reported that the proposed kick- off could be postponed till the following year.
"Where we are now, it's a little bit of a challenge to think of (starting in) 2015, but we have to move forward," added Zainudin.
World Sport Group's chief executive, Andrew Georgiou, explained that Fifa's questioning was nothing out of the ordinary.
"Fifa wants to know the details because this is a cross-border competition, and they are entitled to," he said.
"The challenge in this region is to improve the quality of football, and it is for us to show how the league can improve that.
"We now have to go through the process and engage Fifa."
In response to TNP queries, a Fifa spokesperson said: "At this stage, Fifa has been approached for guidance concerning this league."
The timeline for the AFF and its organising committee remains unclear.
"The Fifa World Cup is just over, and we're always hoping (that this engagement over Fifa queries, happens sooner rather than later)," said Zainudin.