SHAH ALAM (3rd JANUARY, 2013): The Malaysian Armed Forces FA yesterday signed a landmark Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Italian premier sportswear Macron for the 2013-2014 seasons, just days before their Malaysian League Charity Shield match against triple champions Kelantan.
Synonymous with their own rebranding and widely known as ‘The Gladiators’, the 2012 Premier League champions and Malaysia Cup runners-up is the first football team by any standards to come under the sponsorship of Macron in the South-east Asian region.
The success of this sponsorship agreement between ATM FA and Macron was made possible through the initiatives of Shekhinah PR, leading sports PR consultancy agency based in Kuala Lumpur.
Armed Forces FA deputy president Mej Gen. Datuk Mazelan Kasap signed the MoU on behalf of Gladiators while Macron was represented by its sole South East Asia distributor director Azman Mohamad. The ceremony was witnessed by Defence Minister YB Dato’ Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Chief of Armed Forces Gen. Tan Sri Zulkifeli Mohd Zin, Macron general manager Sadis Kochukutten as well as several top brass of the Malaysian Armed Forces.
Macron, founded in 1971, is Italy’s premier technical sportswear brand and is the official supplier to the English Premier League teams West Ham United and Aston Villa while more than 30 Italian clubs including SSC Napoli, SS Lazio, Bologna FC 1909 and other top European clubs across Europe including Spanish La Liga, Portugal Premeira Liga and Dutch Eredivisie are on their sponsorship list..
Zahid said the signing of the MoU is a timely prelude to the Gladiators exploits in the M-League beginning with the Charity Shield match against Kelantan on Jan 5 at the Shah Alam Stadium. The Gladiators take on Lions XI of Singapore in their first match of the Super League on Jan 9 at the Tuanku Abdul Rahman Stadium in Paroi.
“It is indeed an honour for the Gladiators to be associated with a well known international brand like Macron who has some of the top clubs in the world under their sponsorship,” added Zahid, the man behind the “rebranding” which began three years ago at the ceremony which also saw the introduction of Gladiators in their new match and training outfits.
“This is the beginning of a new horizon for the Gladiators and we thank Macron for choosing us as their ‘Brand Ambassadors’ in this region. It is my fervent hope that the Gladiators will put on another resounding performance in their quest for honours.”
Macron sole distributor for South East Asia director Azman described the signing of the MoU as a positive step forward, citing the team’s incredible performance in the Premier League as well as the Malaysia Cup as a powerful force which aroused their attention.
“We were scouting for a team in this region and were fascinated with the Gladiators incredible rise and the strong fan following. It did not take us long to decide them as our prospective client,” said Azman, adding that the Gladiators are the first professional football club in the South-east Asia region on Macron’s sponsorship. “We are sincerely proud to have them on board,” he added.
Gen Zulkifeli, who is also the president of the Armed Forces FA, said the signing of the MoU has given creditability and a significant milestone in building a stronger team.
“The signing is a significant milestone and demonstrates Gladiators commitment towards an improved performance in the 2013 Malaysian Leagues – namely the Super League and FA Cup,” he added.
“We are confident Gladiators will come back strongly in this season’s adventures, living up to our motto of ‘Agi Idup, Agi Ngelaban (which translates meansWhile I breathe, I Fight) which has been the trademark of our soldiers in the battlefield. Our fans too have always been obedient at all of our matches and are equally excited for the 2013 season to begin.”
After a 46-year wait, the Gladiators advanced to the Malaysia Cup final last year when they defeated Lions X1 5-4 in a penalty shootout in their second leg semi-final match but fell short of a grasp on the coveted Cup, losing 3-2 to Kelantan in the final. However, with their promotion to the Super League, fans can expect another ballistic performance beginning with the Charity Shield match against Kelantan.
The Gladiators started the ball rolling by bringing on board several new faces as chief coach B. Satiananthan draws up plans to launch another round of assault in the M-League. While Hairuddin Omar retains the skipper’s band, Selangor goalkeeper G. Jevanathan and striker R. Surendren, T-Team’s Nor Fazli Alias, defender Mohamed Shukor Adan (Negeri Sembilan) and USM’s S. Thinagaran have been included in their stable for the new season.
The Tuanku Abdul Rahman Stadium in Paroi, Negeri Sembilan, will be Gladiators home venue for the 2013 season.
Released on behalf of Angkatan Tentera Malaysia FA. For further information kindly contact:
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