Fifa president Gianni Infantino, while speaking about the proposed Asean Super League (ASL) at a Fifa summit in Singapore, said any initiative to promote football in the Asean region should be "looked at positively".
ASL has the backing of Asean Football Federation (AFF) and is likely to have teams from 10 member countries - Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore - in its first season, which is expected to kick start in August 2017, according to reports.Private investors from the region have joined hands with the AFF for the project.
The ASL, according to its task force spearhead and former president of Football Association of Singapore (FAS) Zainudin Nordin, will help nurture local talents in the region and will subsequently help the local leagues as well.
However, there has been fierce opposition against the proposed league from the football fraternity in the region. Domestic leagues of most of the member countries are fretting how much more their players can take if there is more activity in an already-packed football season.
Infantino also said that there should be proper communication and agreement between the member organisations of the AFF and local clubs before such a move is planned. He also cited the popularity of another Asean tournament, AFF Suzuki Cup while discussing about ASL.
"When we see the popularity of the Suzuki Cup for example, we see there is certainly potential to do something more in the region to promote football, so any initiative has to be looked at favourably, but it has to come from an agreement of all the local associations to start with," Infantino was quoted as saying by The New Paper.
"Whether the right thing to do is a trans-national regional league of clubs or national teams or any other competition one can think of, this is something for the local football authorities to decide, for local associations together with the clubs to see what is the best way to promote football."