Defending Singapore Premier League (SPL) champions Brunei DPMM FC will sit out the 2020 SPL season.
On 26 October, the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) confirmed today that Brunei DPMM FC sit out the remainder of the 2020 AIA Singapore Premier League (SPL) season.
In a statement, the FAS said that it had been informed “recently” by DPMM FC that they are unable to participate in their upcoming fixtures, because there are currently no provisions in Brunei that allow them to travel to Singapore.
There is also currently no confirmation as to when travel can resume at all, due to the evolving COVID-19 situation worldwide.
The league had resumed on 17 October after being suspended for six months due to Covid-19.
The FAS added that since it was important for the FAS to ensure that the 2020 SPL season could continue so that the League concludes in time to ascertain Singapore’s representatives for 2021’s Asian Football Confederation (AFC) club competitions, the FAS will proceed with the rest of the 2020 SPL season without the defending champions.
It also added that FAS and DPMM FC have made significant efforts to explore mutually satisfactory arrangements for DPMM FC’s participation in the League.
Said FAS President Lim Kia Tong, “It is extremely unfortunate that Brunei DPMM FC will not be able to join us for the resumption of the 2020 SPL campaign as I am certain SPL supporters and the other participating clubs are looking forward to see the reigning champions defend their title.
“However, we recognise that these are extraordinary circumstances, and the current situation leaves us with extremely limited options. Brunei DPMM FC has been a valued participant of the SPL for a better part of the decade and remains an integral part of our League. We look forward to welcoming them back next season.”
Added Brunei DPMM FC General Manager Ali Haji Momin, “We were looking forward to defending our title this season.
“However, despite our best efforts, the travel rules have meant that it is not possible for us to do so.
“We are tremendously grateful for the patience and kind understanding of the FAS over the last few weeks as we both sought for a solution to this matter.
“We wish the other eight teams the best of luck for the rest of this season, and hope to return for the 2021 season in full force.”
The sitting out of DPMM FC means that the result of the sole match they have already played – a 2-0 victory against Tampines Rovers at Bandar Seri Begawan on 6 March 2020 will be declared void.
The changes, however, had not been reflected on the standings on the table on the FAS website as at 6pm as it still showed DPMM as having three points, lying in seventh spot, despite the statement having been posted on its website.
More importantly, questions should be asked if DPMM FC or any foreign club should be allowed to participate in the local competitions if they are based overseas.
With travel risks and also uncertainty in a post-Covid-19 world, the FAS may need to relook its model of having a foreign-based club participate in its domestic league.
Main Photo: SPL