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Exceleration Invests in the Future of Independent Music

Exceleration Music Unveils a World-Class Executive Team, a Partnership with Alligator Records, a Strategic Alliance with The Ray Charles Foundation, and The Relaunch of Candid Records

NEW YORK, Jan. 14, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Five of the independent music industry’s most influential executives have come together in a new venture aimed at enhancing the future of independent labels and artists. Started by Glen Barros (former CEO of Concord Music Group), Exceleration Music has developed into a partnership of global music industry leaders who invest in the future of independents from a wide range of culturally important genres. In addition to Barros, Exceleration is led by Dave Hansen (Executive Chairman of Merlin, the digital licensing partner for independents, and previous GM of Epitaph Records), Charles Caldas (the first CEO of Merlin), Amy Dietz (previously GM of independent music distribution leader Ingrooves) and John Burk (GRAMMY-winning producer and former President of Concord Records).

Backed by substantial investment capital and based on its core founding values of integrity, fairness, openness, humility and excellence, Exceleration plans to leverage its partners’ extensive expertise and deep understanding of the independent music culture to make tailored investments in independent music rights and the individuals that create them. In doing so, Exceleration will offer personalized solutions to entrepreneurs seeking capital to achieve growth as well as those trying to achieve liquidity or an honorable exit which preserves and enhances the legacies of both the entrepreneurs and their artists alike.

“We believe in and are devoted to investing in independent music,” comments Barros, “and, with this team, we are well-positioned to deliver a complete package of financial, operational and strategic value to our investment partners, all of which comes with great reverence for the music they’ve created and the brands they’ve built.”

As a key step in implementing its strategy, Exceleration has announced its investment in the legendary independent blues and roots label, Alligator Records, as well as a partnership with its founder, Bruce Iglauer, who will continue at the helm of the label as he has been for the last 50 years. Iglauer and his Chicago-based team will continue to handle A&R, artist signings, new release production, project marketing, publicity, and promotion for an aggressive lineup of new recordings by the label’s existing roster as well as those by newly-signed artists, while Exceleration handles financial, operational, and administrative functions for the label. Both partners will also collaborate on marketing initiatives designed to build upon the label’s great legacy.

With Alligator’s addition to the Exceleration family, it joins Candid Records, the venerable jazz label acquired by Exceleration at the beginning of 2020. While Candid was essentially a dormant label when acquired, Exceleration has plans to relaunch the label later in 2021 with a full slate of new releases and special catalog re-issues from Candid’s storied past.

In addition to its plans for Alligator and Candid, Exceleration has also entered into an alliance with The Ray Charles Foundation by which they will jointly issue special releases from the Ray Charles vaults, most of which have not been widely available on digital music services for the past decade.

In summing up how Exceleration has come together, Glen Barros states “When I started the company, I decided to go with a ‘first who, then what’ strategy. With our industry becoming more and more commoditized, I wanted to put people first — people who care about independent music and share similar values. Quite frankly, I am completely amazed and truly blessed by how this strategy has developed. To have partners like John, Amy, Charles, and Dave is truly a dream come true. But it goes beyond this, to the great investors we’re working with, the team we’re assembling, our professional advisors, and now the opportunity to work with Bruce Iglauer at Alligator and Valerie Ervin at the Ray Charles Foundation. With a dedicated group like this, I know we’re going to do great things for the indie community and have a lot of fun along the way.”

About Exceleration Music’s Founding Partners
Exceleration’s partners, each of whom have spent their entire professional careers within the independent music community, understand what it means to be a music entrepreneur; the unique culture, the passion, the pride, the values, the music, the vision and the remarkable history of the sector runs deep in the history of each of the partners.

Glen Barros
Glen has spent the majority of his career as the CEO of Concord Music Group, having taken the helm shortly after managing the acquisition of the company from its founder in 1994. Over Glen’s 25 years at Concord, the company grew from a small but revered jazz label into one of the largest and most respected independent music companies in the world, working within numerous musical genres.

Charles Caldas
Charles was the first CEO of Merlin, the global digital music licensing agency for independent labels. He oversaw the organization from its launch in 2008 through its expansion into a multi-billion dollar global organization, representing companies from over 60 markets and striking deals with the world’s leading digital music platforms including Facebook, Spotify, TenCent, Soundcloud, YouTube, and many more. Charles was also featured on Billboard’s Global Power 100 in 2018 and 2019.

John Burk
John is an acclaimed record executive and record producer with great industry recognition, including GRAMMY awards for Album and Record of the Year. John spent over 25 years as a creative force within Concord, ultimately serving as the President of the Concord Records label. He has also worked extensively with The Recording Academy and currently serves as a National Trustee.

Amy Dietz
Amy has a varied background within the music industry, kicking off her career at a record store and an indie label before serving as advertising manager at Alternative Distribution Alliance, rising to VP of Label & Artist Development. As General Manager of Ingrooves, Amy oversaw day-to-day operations of one of the most successful independent music distributors in the world. She has also served on the boards of A2IM and Music Biz. Amy has been featured in Billboard’s Digital and Indie Power Player lists, as well as being named a Top Women Exec for 2020.

Dave Hansen
As the current Executive Chairman of Merlin and Founding Partner of Independent Record Pressing, Dave has worked on behalf of independent labels for his entire career. He was the GM of Epitaph and Anti- Records for over 20 years and created Insomnia Records, the mail order company for independents, in the early 90s after launching his career as a partner at Dr. Dream Records. For 10 years, Dave has been an active board member for Merlin, as well as serving two terms as an elected board member for A2IM.

About Alligator Records
Chicago-based Alligator Records, now celebrating its 50th anniversary, is the most successful independent blues and roots rock label in the world. Founded and still headed by Bruce Iglauer, the label’s catalog has grown to over 350 releases (over 100 produced or co-produced by Iglauer), including multiple Grammy and Blues Music Award winners. Alligator artists tour worldwide, headlining festivals and club performances. Rolling Stone says, “Prestigious, scrappy independent Alligator Records has reached dizzying heights in celebrating the blues,” while The New York Times says, “With muscular, no-frills production, Alligator catches the blues as it melds with soul, rock, gospel, country and zydeco, partying away the pains of love. Alligator is the leading record label for the blues, and has succeeded where the giants have failed.”

About Candid Records
Candid Records was founded in 1960 by renowned arranger and bandleader, Archie Bleyer, when he enlisted the legendary jazz journalist, Nat Hentoff, to capture the essence of cutting edge jazz and blues in New York City. This initial effort lasted less than one year but, in that time, Candid managed to produce 35 classic recordings by artists such as Charles Mingus, Max Roach, Abbey Lincoln, Otis Spann, and Cecil Taylor. The label then remained relatively dormant until the late 1980s when the well-known British record executive, Alan Bates, acquired the Candid catalog and resurrected the imprint. Over the next 30 years, Alan added nearly 250 albums to the label by both jazz luminaries and new sensations, such as Jamie Cullum and Stacey Kent. Exceleration Music acquired the label in 2020 and plans to proudly build upon its great legacy.

About The Ray Charles FoundationRay Charles is a true musical icon, who forever changed the face of American music. Ray’s groundbreaking blend of Gospel and R&B earned him the title The Genius of Soul, and his foray into Country and Western shattered both musical and racial barriers, which he continued to do throughout his incredible career. His numerous awards include 8 honorary doctoral degrees, 17 GRAMMY Awards, the GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award, The President’s Merit Award, Kennedy Center Honors, National Medal of the Arts, and Playboy Awards. Rolling Stone Magazine ranked him #10 on their list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time” and #2 on their list of the “100 Greatest Singers of All Time.” Before his passing, Ray established The Ray Charles Foundation, dedicated to providing support in the area of hearing disorders and the empowerment of young people through education by offering support to educational institutions and non-profit education programs. Ray Charles said: “The inability to hear is a handicap; not the inability to see.” The vision of The Ray Charles Foundation is to instill in the youth of America that “there is no challenge too great one cannot overcome.”

For media inquiries:
Dawn Kamerling
The Press House


RoosterBio Partners with Sartorius to Advance Cell and Gene Therapy Manufacturing

RoosterBio’s innovative hMSCs and bioprocess media systems, coupled with Sartorius’s scalable closed system bioreactor, downstream processing, and analytics, offers end-to-end hMSC manufacturing solutions for the field of regenerative medicine.

FREDERICK, Md., Jan. 14, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — RoosterBio Inc., a leading supplier of human mesenchymal stem/stromal cell (hMSC) working cell banks, highly engineered media and hMSC bioprocess systems, today announces the signing of a strategic collaboration with Sartorius, a leading international partner of life science research and the biopharmaceutical industry. The collaboration aims to advance the scale-up of hMSC manufacturing for regenerative medicine by leveraging the best-in-class solutions of both companies to significantly reduce process development efforts, industrialize the supply chain and accelerate the development and commercialization of groundbreaking cell-based regenerative cures.

RoosterBio and Sartorius will create a set of GMP-compatible, customer-centric protocols using RoosterBio’s hMSC and media systems, alongside Sartorius’s single use manufacturing technologies, process control software and cell analysis tools of hMSC final product manufacturing. Cell expansion will be rapidly optimized using Sartorius’s benchtop Ambr® system and MODDE® design of experiment software allowing the technical team to compare cultures in identically sized, multi-parallel bioreactors to gain process information and optimized conditions in a short timeline. Sartorius’s scalable Biostat STR® production bioreactors will then be used to scale up to 50L as part of this collaboration, with the system benefitting from scalability to 2000L. Sartorius equipment will also be leveraged to develop post-harvest processing methods with the kSep® system as well as process and quality analytics. This joint effort will simplify multiple steps in therapeutic development by providing robust, streamlined, end-to-end platform technologies and protocols that can be implemented for rapid scale up of manufacturing processes, allowing product developers to significantly speed up their development timelines.

“Taking hMSC manufacturing to the thousand-liter scale is critical in meeting product dose requirements in commercial manufacturing,” said RoosterBio CEO Margot Connor. “For truly robust and standardized production in the field, a highly controlled manufacturing strategy is needed, with the implementation of automation, process monitoring and control to increase batch scale, consistency and efficiency. This collaboration is well-positioned to accomplish the clinical scale requirements of regenerative medicine product developers while laying foundation for true commercial scale manufacturing.”

“With the combination of technologies and tools of RoosterBio and Sartorius we support our customers to develop stem cell and therapies faster, better and more cost-efficient. Scalability is key in commercial manufacturing and this cooperation will help to meet the requirements of our customers even better,” said Hugo de Wit, Head of Advanced Therapies at Sartorius.

Both companies aim to use the data from this collaboration to provide co-learning and development opportunities to support the growing cell and gene therapy industry.

About RoosterBio

RoosterBio, Inc. is a privately held cell manufacturing platform technology company focused on accelerating the development of a sustainable Regenerative Medicine industry, one customer at a time. RoosterBio’s products are high-volume, affordable, and well-characterized adult human mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (hMSCs) paired with highly engineered media systems. RoosterBio has simplified and standardized how living cells are purchased, expanded, and used in development, leading to marked time and costs savings for customers. RoosterBio’s innovative products are ushering in a new era of productivity and standardization into the field. Visit www.roosterbio.com.

About Sartorius
The Sartorius Group is a leading international partner of life science research and the biopharmaceutical industry. With innovative laboratory instruments and consumables, the Group’s Lab Products & Services Division concentrates on serving the needs of laboratories performing research and quality control at pharma and biopharma companies and those of academic research institutes. The Bioprocess Solutions Division with its broad product portfolio focusing on single-use solutions helps customers to manufacture biotech medications and vaccines safely and efficiently. The Group has been annually growing by double digits on average and has been regularly expanding its portfolio by acquisitions of complementary technologies. In fiscal 2019, the company earned sales revenue of some 1.83 billion euros. At the end of 2019, more than 9,000 people were employed at the Group’s approximately 60 manufacturing and sales sites, serving customers around the globe.

Visit www.sartorius.com


RoosterBio: Carrie Zhang, Director of Marketing

Sartorius: Andre Hofmann, Head of Public Relations


Philips and Merck partner to advance personalized fertility treatment

January 14, 2021

Remote patient monitoring, cloud-based platform services and mobile, AI-enabled ultrasound diagnostics to support improved access to care and better outcomes in fertility treatment

Amsterdam, the Netherlands – Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA), a global leader in health technology, today announced a multi-year partnership with Merck, a leading science and technology company, to develop clinical-grade digital solutions for highly personalized fertility treatment. Leveraging digital health technologies, advanced informatics and mobile, AI-enabled ultrasound diagnostics, these solutions will aim to better inform patients and clinicians about the choice and timing of fertility treatment to maximize the chances of conception.

“At Philips we are leading digital transformation in healthcare, with a portfolio that includes solutions for both professionals and consumers to support parents-to-be through pregnancy and the first years of their baby’s life,” said Jeroen Tas, Chief Innovation & Strategy Officer, Royal Philips. “The journey for aspiring parents is sometimes a difficult one, and by collaborating with Merck, a world leader in fertility treatment, we aim to develop integrated digital solutions that improve the patient experience and can ultimately have a positive impact on health outcomes. This partnership builds on our expertise in maternal and fetal monitoring, our Pregnancy+ and Baby+ consumer engagement apps, our leading ultrasound solutions and our HealthSuite Cloud/AI platform.”

“We believe that the future of IVF will be unlocked through digital health technologies that empower professionals and patients to be better connected,” said Michelangelo Canzoneri, Global Head of Digital and Data, Healthcare at Merck. “With Philips, we have a partner that shares our belief in the potential of digital health to improve the patient experience, bringing a wealth of experience in connected care to our offering. Together, this collaboration will push our two companies to think beyond tomorrow and discover new solutions that can empower people to realize their dreams of parenthood,” added Jan Kirsten, Head of Global Business Franchise for Fertility at Merck.

Digital health and virtual care technologies have proved invaluable during the COVID-19 pandemic in keeping patients and their care teams in virtual contact, accelerating digital transformation in healthcare. Digital technologies including remote patient monitoring, cloud-based services and AI are playing an ever more important part in achieving better patient outcomes, better patient and staff experiences, and low cost of care – the quadruple aim of healthcare.

For further information, please contact:

Mark Groves
Philips Global Press Office
Tel.: +31 631 639 916
E-mail: mark.groves@philips.com
Twitter: mark_groves

About Royal Philips

Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA) is a leading health technology company focused on improving people’s health and enabling better outcomes across the health continuum from healthy living and prevention, to diagnosis, treatment and home care. Philips leverages advanced technology and deep clinical and consumer insights to deliver integrated solutions. Headquartered in the Netherlands, the company is a leader in diagnostic imaging, image-guided therapy, patient monitoring and health informatics, as well as in consumer health and home care. Philips generated 2019 sales of EUR 19.5 billion and employs approximately 81,000 employees with sales and services in more than 100 countries. News about Philips can be found at www.philips.com/newscenter.

About Merck

Merck KGaA, a leading science and technology company, operates across healthcare, life science and performance materials. Around 57,000 employees work to make a positive difference to millions of people’s lives every day by creating more joyful and sustainable ways to live. From advancing gene editing technologies and discovering unique ways to treat the most challenging diseases to enabling the intelligence of devices – the company is everywhere. In 2019, Merck generated sales of €16.2 billion in 66 countries.

Scientific exploration and responsible entrepreneurship have been key to Merck’s technological and scientific advances. This is how Merck has thrived since its founding in 1668. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed company. Merck holds the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the business sectors of Merck operate as EMD Serono in healthcare, MilliporeSigma in life science, and EMD Performance Materials.


Open Society Foundations Announce 2020 Puerto Rico Youth Fellows

San Juan, Jan. 13, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Open Society Foundations are pleased to announce the 2020 recipients of the Puerto Rico Youth Fellowships, which support young Puerto Rican leaders working to elevate justice, promote human rights, and help underserved communities in Puerto Rico.

The fellowship program, now in its second year, recognizes 10 recipients from all over the island—from central San Juan to the island of Vieques—working on a wide range of issues. Among the fellows’ projects: teaching young people about food sovereignty, strengthening support for LGBTQPIA+ youth across the island, elevating the leadership of Black youth, and using art as a medium to spark political engagement by young Puerto Ricans.

“Puerto Rican youth have encountered some of the worst living conditions in generations, from Hurricane Maria to earthquakes to the pandemic,” said Karina Claudio Betancourt, director of Open Society’s Puerto Rico Project. “Despite these challenges, their leadership has transformed the political landscape of the island and has resulted in the ousting of the former governor Ricardo Roselló, and in the defeat of colonial bipartisan control of the Puerto Rican government.”

Betancourt continued: “These projects reflect the vast range of ideas and initiatives that will help spur further transformation in Puerto Rico and will help build power and amplify the voices of communities too often left out of political and policy debates.”

The Puerto Rico Youth Fellowships Program continues Open Society’s commitment to investing in and building power among youth on the island. Open Society has been working in Puerto Rico since 2013, supporting a range of organizations, movements, and individuals that contribute to strengthening civil society, civic participation, transparency, and government accountability on the archipelago and in the diaspora. To date, Open Society has invested $20 million in Puerto Rico-related issues—and plans to continue to invest in the coming years.

“As a young Afro-Puerto Rican, I am proud of the opportunity to accompany and work with the new cohort of the Youth fellows,” said Loidymar Duprey, co-coordinator of the fellowships. “In recent years, many Puerto Rican youth have had to leave the island in search of better opportunities, driven away by the panorama of challenges and crises that the archipelago is going through. These grants open the door for young people like me to reimagine their communities and advocate for social justice and human rights from and for their home. The goal is for these young people to continue dreaming, fighting, and paving the way for future generations of young leaders and activists from Puerto Rico that we deserve.”

“It is an honor to participate again as coordinator of the Youth Fellowship—a program that in its second year continues to rely on the great power of Puerto Rican youth,” said Alvaro Fernandez, fellowships co-coordinator. “In this new cohort, I see reflected the diversity and collective resistance of Puerto Rico’s social movements—movements that despite so much uncertainty will not stop growing and strengthening. I see in these 10 young people the love they have for Puerto Rico and the courage they share to continue in the fight for a better future. I congratulate all of the recipients.”

Fellowship recipients range in age between 18 and 27. They will receive up to $50,000 for working full-time on their projects for an 18-month period.

2020 Puerto Rico Youth Fellows

Edrimael Delgado Reyes (pronouns: he, him, his) will develop queer spaces for the LGBTQ+ community in Puerto Rico through LaBoriVogue, a laboratory using vogue as an agent of individual transformation and collective justice.

Luis Mi Rodríguez-Rodríguez (pronouns: they, her, hers) will create content for the LGBTQ+ community through Pólvora Colectiva Cuir, a digital media collective generating safe spaces for discussion and debate within queer communities.

Camil Libertá Valentín Arce (pronouns: she, her, hers) will develop Amarilla, a workshop and community garden offering resources for a more dignified life to the disadvantaged in Aguadilla through art and agroecology.

Cristian J. Laracuente Vázquez (pronouns: he, him, his) will lead Taller Lumpen, a project developing street art as a tool for education and socialization of essential resources to combat inequality in Mayagüez.

Venus A. Páez Hernández (pronouns: she, her, hers) will develop the S.A.L.V.A. project (Food Sovereignty Achieving Agroecological Vieques), with a mission to provide educational resources to promote agribusiness development.

Jesef Reyes Morales (pronouns: he, him, his) will develop Semillas de Apoyo Mutuo en Utuado, a project to promote food sovereignty and local organizing for the agricultural workers in Tetuán, a community in Utuado.

Anna Margarita (pronouns: she, her, hers) is co-founder of Caribana Coop, a worker-owned co-op that seeks to create spaces and tools to reimagine our education and our economic, social and land relations.

Jun Díaz González (pronouns: he, they, theirs) will lead Flor de Loto, a mentorship project focusing on human rights and LGBTI youth in the area and surrounding communities of Caguas.

María José (pronouns: she, they, theirs) will develop House of Grace, a trans-feminist antiracist collective promoting mutual aid, economic justice, and artistic development for trans-feminine nonbinary individuals of color.

Cristian Eduardo Martínez Medina (pronouns: he, him, his) will develop Escuela de Liderazgo Político y Comunitario, a project seeking to support a community space for young Black leaders in Yabucoa.

Office of Communications
Open Society Foundations 
(212) 548-0668

Contact SFC immediately if you spot crocodile, public told

— Members of the public have been urged to contact the Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) immediately if they spot a crocodile near their areas, instead of taking a video and sharing it on social media before asking for help from the authorities.

That is the message conveyed by the SF chief executive officer Zolkipli Mohamad Aton when several districts in the state were hit by floods, causing concern among the public about the appearance of crocodiles during this disaster.

“If there are any complaints about the threat of crocodiles, the public can contact the SFC Wildlife officer at 019-885 9996 (Kuching), 019-888 3561 (Sibu), 019-833 2737 (Bintulu) or 019-829 0994 (Miri),” he said in an interview with Bernama here, today.

He said that the latest case of a baseless viral video clip received by SFC claiming to be of a crocodile entering a village here.

“We (SFC) received reports from the public… some said the incident took place in Kampung Nombor 4, some said Kampung Nombor 5, in Petra Jaya and in Lutong, Miri – we directed our team to the scenes but when we arrived, there was nothing,” he said, adding that it was an old video uploaded by irresponsible parties.

He said that such irresponsible attitudes not only posed a hindrance to SFC’s efforts but also caused concern to the villagers who were affected by the floods at this time.

When several districts in the state were hit by floods due to prolonged heavy rains, he said that there was the possibility of crocodiles appearing in villages in search of food sources as well as to avoid strong currents in the river.

“When you see a crocodile, do not worry. Immediately report to the SFC, then we will put a danger sign in the area as a precautionary measure to prevent residents from approaching the area,” he said.

He also said that SFC has started its 3M programme to educate the community to better understand how to live their lives with the presence of crocodiles.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

Cheah, Kisona gain invaluable experience at Yonex Thailand Open

— Malaysian women’s singles shuttlers Soniia Cheah and S. Kisona may have lost to their opponents at the opening round of Yonex Thailand Open Badminton Tournament at the Impact Arena in Bangkok yesterday, but they both believe they have gained invaluable experience that will help them become better players.

According to Cheah, who is the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games mixed team silver medallist, her 15-21 and 12-21 defeat to the seventh seed, An Se Young of South Korea, served as the best lesson to improve her performance for the Toyota Thailand Open which is scheduled to commence from Jan 19 to 24 at the same venue.

“My opponent managed to control the rhythm of the match better than me, and it was kind of jitter since it was my first match (after not playing for some time due to COVID-19), but I do hope to get my rhythm back in the next tournament,” Cheah was quoted as saying in a post-match video interview by the Badminton World Federation (BWF).

The video was made available to Bernama.

Sharing the sentiment was Cheah’s compatriot, S. Kisona who was delighted to be given a chance to play in the tournament following the withdrawal of Thailand’s player Nitchaon Jindapol due to an injury.

The 2019 Philippines SEA Games gold medallist said that despite losing straight-set 15-21 and 15-21 to the world number 20th Saina Nehwal of India in the first round, she was happy with her performance at the US$1 million (RM4.042 million) tournament.

“I tried to play my best to see how far I can go since this is my first tournament after not playing for a while (due to COVID-19),” she said.

“I think Saina played well and she is one of my idols. It was a good experience to get a chance to play against her,” Kisona added.

The defeat by both players saw Malaysia had no representatives left in the BWF World Tour Super 1000 tournament.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

Centralised training snag for Harimau Malaya

The national football team has no choice except to continue with the challenges in the second round of the 2022 World Cup/ 2023 Asian Cup qualification without any optimum preparation should the event be held in March.

Team manager, Datuk Mohd Yusoff Mahadi admitted that the squad under head coach Tan Cheng Hoe may not gather for team training after the centralised training camp scheduled for this month was cancelled.

He said with the 2021 Malaysia-League competition starting at the end of February and the uncertainty over the implementation of Movement Control Order (MCO) presently, have compounded efforts to group players together.

“We have no choice as we could not hold it (centralised training camp) this month. If we want to call players in February, they would be busy with their respective club preparations for M-League which is commencing on February 26.

“Under such circumstances, how are we going to call them for a 10-day centralised camp, which team would released their players when they are busy with pre-season preparations,” Mohd Yusoff who is also the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) deputy president told Bernama today.

The centralised training camp for the national squad was scheduled from Jan 15 to 26 since November last year but had to be called off following the implementation of MCO in six states for 14 days until Jan 26.

At the same time, he said FAM was awaiting the official decision of International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) on the qualifying competition schedule, on whether to go ahead in March or postpone it to June at a selected location.

According to him, the national team can benefit from the international match calendar from March 22 to 30 for centralised training if FIFA decides to postpone the qualifying competition to June.

“In my view, they (FIFA) have to announce quickly so as not to burden all countries in deciding the direction this season. Nonetheless, whatever decision FIFA makes, we have to make new plans or adapt to the situation for the competition.

“So far, I could see that if the qualifying matches were to be held in March, it would be difficult to organise centralised training but if it is held in June, we still have a chance,” he added.

Malaysia are scheduled to meet the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Dubai on March 25 before hosting Vietnam on March 30 in Group G second round 2022 World Cup / 2023 Asian Cup Qualifiers.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency