Perak's new import midfielder Kilichev may be ineligible for 2016 MSL

The Malaysia Super League (MSL) campaign of Perak has suffered a hitch with the news that their new import player Oybek Kilichev may not be eligible for the 2016 season.

The 27-year-old Uzbekistan midfielder appeared in three matches in the Iranian second division last year which could rule him out of MSL action.

Under Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) rules, foreigners from Asian leagues must come directly from first division clubs, or be a current national team player.

Kilichev hasn't represented Uzbekistan in almost three years and was most recently with Paykan FC of the Azadegan League, the competition below the top tier Persian Pro Gulf League.

"If he plays in the second division for five minutes, he is not eligible to play in the league," FAM spokesman Abdul Aziz Yeop Jamaluddin told The Star.

"Now, Perak Football Association (PAFA) should check thoroughly whether he played in division one or for the national team."

Kilichev was missing from the official Perak team launch in Ipoh on Sunday.

Even so, Perak FA president Abdul Puhat Mat Nayan said that he was hopeful that Kilichev would be cleared to play.

"Hopefully, technically we will be able to rectify it."

But Abdul Aziz, of FAM, warned that all teams must double check the eligibility of players for the 2016 season or risk sanctions.

"If someone finds out that he is ineligible, the team can protest and they will automatically lose the match," he said.

Perak's other import players are Brazilians Ellias Fernandes Oliveira (striker) and Thiago Junio De Aquino (defender) plus another Uzbek in Vokhid Shodiev (striker).

Perak's 2016 MSL season opener is against Kelantan in Ipoh on Feb. 13.