A Guide To The Football Association Of Malaysia

The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) serves as the national governing body for the sport of football within the country. It oversees the organisation of the Malaysia national football team, as well as domestic competitions that span across various levels of the game. Established in 1933, the association has played a significant role in the development and growth of football in Malaysia.

Under the umbrella of FAM, there are 20 state Football Associations, each responsible for coordinating football leagues and nurturing the sport within their regions. Each state FA contributes to the broader structure of FAM, ensuring a cohesive and well-organised approach to football governance in Malaysia. Through their collective efforts, Malaysian football has continued to evolve, offering opportunities for both professional and semi-professional clubs to participate.

The Malaysian football league system is structured in multiple tiers, including the Malaysian Super League, which is the highest division. It features 12 teams, while the second-tier Malaysian Premier League boasts eight teams. This framework permits clubs to progress through the ranks, fostering competition, and refining talent to promote the overall quality of Malaysian football.

History of Football Association of Malaysia

From Singapore Amateur Football Association to Football Association of Malaya

The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) traces its roots back to the Singapore Amateur Football Association, which was founded in 1921. At the time, football was gaining popularity in the region, and the new association aimed to further develop the sport in British Malaya.

In 1933, the Singapore Amateur Football Association was reorganised, and the Football Association of Malaya (FAM) was formed. This change was necessary due to the growing interest in football in Malaya and the desire to create a distinct governing body for the sport in the region.

Under the FAM, football flourished as local clubs and teams began to participate in various competitions. In the following years, the FAM played a crucial role in the development and promotion of football in Malaysia, launching or supporting numerous events such as the Malaya Cup (now known as the Malaysia Cup).

As Malaysia gained independence from Britain in 1957, the FAM continued to focus on the development and growth of football in the young nation. In the 1960s, the FAM underwent a significant transformation, further separating itself from Singapore. This separation culminated in the formation of the Malayan Football Association (MFA) to better serve the specific needs of football in Malaysia.

Governance and Constitution

The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) serves as the governing body for football in Malaysia. FAM is responsible for coordinating football leagues and development efforts, with 20 state football associations affiliated under it.

In accordance with the Sports Development Act 1997, all sports bodies in Malaysia, including FAM, must be registered and approved by the Sports Commissioner Officer. This act aims to promote and facilitate the development, administration, and registration of sports in the country.

The Malaysian Football League (MFL) is a key component of FAM’s governance structure. In December 2020, the MFL amended its constitution to provide the board of directors with the freedom to nominate any qualified and suitable individual for the post of president. This change highlights the emphasis on competence and experience, ensuring that the leadership is best suited to advance the sport’s growth and development in the country.

To assist clubs in meeting the necessary governance and operational standards, FAM has also implemented a club licensing system. Clubs seeking to participate in domestic or AFC club competitions for 2021 must obtain a Football Association of Malaysia Club License. The application process entails the completion of various forms, including a license application form (CLR-1), confidentiality agreement (CLR-2), and venue facilities questionnaire.

In summary, the governance and constitution structures of the Football Association of Malaysia work towards creating a stable and supportive environment for the growth of the sport nationwide. Ensuring clubs adhere to the required regulations and selecting leadership based on competence, FAM supports the development of Malaysia’s football landscape.

National Team Competitions

Men’s Football

The Malaysia national football team is controlled by the Football Association of Malaysia and represents the country in international football events. Recognised by FIFA as the successor of the defunct Malaya national football team, it has participated in various competitions. Some of these include facing regional rivals like Thailand in the Cambodia SEA Games Men’s Football and competing against international teams like Japan in friendly matches.

Women’s Football

The Malaysia women’s national football team represents the country in international women’s football competitions. Governed by the Football Association of Malaysia, it is responsible for organising matches and managing the development of women’s football throughout the nation. Although the women’s team might not be as well-known as their male counterparts, their participation in various tournaments has contributed to the growth and recognition of women’s football in the region.


Futsal, a variant of football predominantly played indoors, has also gained popularity in Malaysia. The Malaysia national futsal team represents the country in international futsal competitions and is governed by the Football Association of Malaysia. The team participates in regional and global events, such as the AFF Futsal Championship and the AFC Futsal Championship. The rise of futsal in Malaysia has consequently led to the establishment of more futsal facilities and the continued development of the sport.

Membership in International Football Bodies

The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) is a significant member of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). Founded in 1951, the FAM is responsible for governing football activities, clubs, and national teams in Malaysia and acts as a liaison with international football bodies.

As a member of the AFC, the FAM has the opportunity to participate in various football competitions organised by the confederation. This includes the prestigious AFC Champions League, AFC Cup, and the AFC Asian Cup. Malaysian clubs and national teams can compete in these tournaments, allowing the players to gain exposure and experience against other Asian counterparts.

In addition to the AFC, the FAM is also affiliated with other football associations, such as the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF). Being part of the AFF allows Malaysian teams to participate in regional competitions like the AFF Championship, which is a biennial football competition contested by national teams of Southeast Asian countries.

Furthermore, the FAM is also a member of FIFA, the international governing body of football. This membership grants Malaysia access to a range of resources, development programmes, and opportunities to compete in global football events, such as the FIFA World Cup.

To summarise, the Football Association of Malaysia holds memberships with several international football bodies, which include:

  • Asian Football Confederation (AFC)
  • ASEAN Football Federation (AFF)
  • Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA)

These memberships enable Malaysian football clubs and national teams to participate in regional and international competitions, contributing to the development and growth of Malaysian football.

State Level Football Development

The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) is the governing body for football in the country. It is responsible for coordinating and developing football at the national level. However, the development of football at the state level is primarily managed by the State Football Associations. These associations play a vital role in nurturing regional football talent and fostering grassroots initiatives.

There are a total of 20 State Football Associations affiliated with FAM. They focus on implementing long-term development plans to improve the quality of football in their respective regions. One such initiative is the National Football Development Programme (NFDP), which was established in a joint collaboration between the Ministry of Sport (KBS) and the Ministry of Education of Malaysia (KPM). The aim of this programme is to create a strong football foundation at the grassroots level in various states.

The NFDP has two phases, the first phase started in 2014 and continued till 2020. The second phase is ongoing, having started in 2021 and projected to run until 2030. Various state-level programmes are conducted through this initiative, concentrating on nurturing young talent and providing opportunities for them to gain experience and improve their skills.

The teams under these State Football Associations participate in the Malaysian Football League system, consisting of several divisions. The top-tier league features 12 teams, whereas the second division, the Malaysian Premier League 2, is comprised of eight teams. Semi-professional clubs are allowed to participate in these leagues, with a maximum of 25 players per club. Players with experience in the first and second division leagues are required to contribute to their teams’ competitive edge.

In conclusion, state-level football development in Malaysia is driven by the collaborative efforts of the State Football Associations and the FAM. These organisations provide opportunities for aspiring footballers to develop their skills, fostering a strong football ecosystem within the country.


How does the Malaysia football league system work?

The Malaysian football league system, also known as the Malaysian football pyramid, is a series of interconnected leagues for men’s association football clubs in Malaysia. The system features several tiers of play, with promotion and relegation between each tier.

At the top of the pyramid is the Malaysia Super League (MSL), which is the highest level of professional football in Malaysia. Below the MSL is the Malaysia Premier League (MPL), which is the second tier of professional football in Malaysia.

The MPL is followed by the Malaysia M3 League, which is the third tier of football in Malaysia. Below the M3 League are the state leagues, which are organized by each of Malaysia’s 13 states. The state leagues are further divided into regional leagues, which are organised by district or city.

At the bottom of the pyramid are the amateur leagues, which are open to any team that meets the eligibility criteria. The amateur leagues are organised by the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) and are divided into several tiers based on the level of competition.

Overall, the Malaysian football league system provides a pathway for clubs to progress from the amateur level to the highest level of professional football in Malaysia.

Are the Malaysia women’s national football team good?

The Malaysia women’s national football team is not considered to be among the strongest teams in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). Despite football being one of the nation’s favorite sports, the team has struggled to compete against other top teams in the region.

In recent years, the team has participated in several international tournaments, including the Southeast Asian Games and the AFC Women’s Asian Cup. However, their results have been mixed, with the team often finishing in the lower half of the standings.

That being said, the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) has recognized the potential of women’s football in the country and has taken steps to develop the sport at the grassroots level. FAM has planned to set up the first women’s football league in Malaysia, which is planned to be named Women Division 1 and Women Super League. With continued development and support, the Malaysia women’s national football team may improve their performance and become more competitive in the future.

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