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The Myanmar National League (MNL) is the premier national professional football league of Myanmarmarker, expected to begin its first season in January 2010. The league replaces the Myanmar Premier League, which consisted only of 14 Yangonmarker-based football clubs, with eight professional clubs representing different regions across the nation. The league is divided into two divisions, Upper Myanmar Division and Lower Myanmar Division, with four teams each. Each football season is expected to last eight months and 28 matches for each club. The number of teams may expand to 12 in 2011.

On 16 May 2009, the league launched its inaugural two-month tournament, Myanmar National League Cup 2009 in preparation for the first full season in 2010. Despite its national ambitions, the league held the MNL Cup 2009 matches in the country's two main stadiums in Yangon due to lack of adequate facilities elsewhere. On 5 July 2009, Yadanabon FC defeated Yangon United FC in the MNL Cup final to become the first-ever MNL Champion.

History

Professional football competition in Myanmar has existed only in a limited form. All premier leagues up to this point are made up of Yangon-based football clubs, most of which are outfits of government Ministries. It was only after 1996, when the Premier League ( ) was relaunched as Myanmar Premier League that non-government clubs were invited to join the league. Still, the league was based only in Yangon, and never caught the imagination of Burmese football fans who follow European football with near religious fervor.

The Myanmar Football Federation sought approval from the government to launch a nationwide league in February, 2008, and finally received permission to set up private clubs in December, 2008. Each club will be permitted to sign at least five foreign players and one foreign coach. The government has granted each club tax exemptions for an initial three-year period, while each club owner must provide a minimum of K200 million (approximately US$200,000) for initial investment. It is expected that the annual operating cost for each club will be about K500 million (US$500,000). The investment apparently covers costs such as salaries, transportation and equipment, but does not include the clubs stadiums, which are all nationalized.

Competition format

Because the country does not have adequate football facilities outside Yangonmarker and Mandalaymarker, the league will initially schedule most matches in the two main cities. The league is divided into two divisions, Upper Myanmar Division and Lower Myanmar Division, with four clubs in each division. Mandalay will host Upper Myanmar Division matches while Yangon will host Lower Myanmar Division matches. The likely number of matches is at least 28, with sides playing each other four times, over an eight month season.

The top two teams each from the two division will appear in the semifinals of the Myanmar National League Cup, which will have to play home and away basis in Yangon and Mandalay, while the champion of the League Cup will be decided with only one match in Yangon.

Clubs

Upper Myanmar Division

FC Home Best Finish # Championships
Kanbawza Taunggyi Stadium 4th 0
Magway Magway Stadium 3rd 0
Yadanabon Bahtoo Stadiummarker 1st 1
Zeyashwemye Monywa Stadium 5th 0


Lower Myanmar Division

FC Home Best Finish # Championships
Delta United Pathein Stadium 7th 0
Okktha United Taungoo Stadium 6th 0
Southern Myanmar United Yamanya Stadium 7th 0
Yangon United Aung San Stadiummarker 2nd 0


See also



References



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