ATM or T-Team to take LionsXII spot in 2016 Malaysia Super League
ATM FA and T-Team will play off for the last remaining spot in the 2016 Malaysia Super League (MSL) next month after the expulsion of Singapore's LionsXII.
The winners will be the 12th and final team in the MSL which will kick off with the Charity Shield on Feb. 13 and conclude on Oct. 22. The losers will take part in the Malaysia Premier League (MPL) which will run from Feb. 12 to Oct. 21.
ATM were originally relegated from the MSL after finishing 11th but have been given a potential reprieve. T-Team were third in the Malaysia Premier League behind promoted clubs Kedah and Penang.
Both sides played in the group stages of the 2015 Malaysia Cup but failed to progress to the quarterfinals.
They met in February in the first round of FA Cup with T-Team winning 3-0 in Terengganu after extra-time, but ATM midfielder Mario Karlovic says that his teammates are determined to secure victory to stay in the MSL.
"When you get a second chance to stay up in the top league, it is almost unbelievable," Karlovic told ESPN FC.
"Because not many times in life you get second chances and especially not in football. It is a great opportunity that we have to grab with both hands."
Karlovic scored twice as ATM defeated Perak 4-3 in their final Malaysia Cup Group B game last Saturday.
But, with AFC Cup champions JDT unexpectedly being held to a draw by Sarawak in the other Group B game, it wasn't enough to send ATM through to the quarterfinals.
While JDT will look to defend their AFC Cup title next season, the place of MSL runners-up Pahang in the regional competition will been taken by Selangor after the Kuantan-based club were docked six points after a contractual dispute in 2013 with their former Moroccan import Mohamed Borji.
But Pahang chief executive office Fahrizal Hassan Pahang believes that Football Association Malaysia (FAM) may not have sent the contract termination agreement to FIFA, who ordered the action against Pahang.
"We cannot establish that FAM have forwarded the termination agreement to FIFA. We sent it to FAM three times," Fahrizal told The Star.
"We can't deal with FIFA directly as we must go through FAM. The agreement clearly shows both parties agreed to mutually part ways without any compensation."
Pahang, who lead LionsXII 4-1 after Tuesday's quarterfinal first leg in Kuantan, are aiming to win the Malaysia Cup for a third straight year.