More foreign teams and more imports could be on the cards next for the Singapore Premier League, including the youth team of Thai League 1 side BG Pathum United.
According to the Straits Times, officials from BG Pathum United were in Singapore at the beginning of March to engage in discussions with the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) and Unleash the Roar (UTR) officials.
The officials from BG Pathum included head of youth football and former Singapore international Kadir Yahaya, director of football Surachai Jaturapattarapong, director of international operations Philip Tan and club chief executive officer Supasin Leelarit.
When asked about the possibility of BG Pathum United joining the SPL, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, Community and Youth Eric Chua, he said, “The answer is yes, we are talking behind the scenes.”
It is also understood that current SPL clubs playing their away matches in Thailand if BG Pathum’s youth side does end up playing in the SPL.
But how having a youth side in the SPL will help raise football standards in Singapore is unknown.
As a strategy, the move will also denigrate the value of the Singapore Premier League, with the perception growing even more that it is nothing but a mere development league.
Chua added in the Straits Times interview that “If you think about improving the standard of play, as we are working on our talent pipeline, perhaps another way in which we can quite quickly uplift the standard of play in the SPL is to talk about foreign players and foreign teams.”
Foreign teams in the SPL or its previous iteration – the S-League – is not a new proposition.
See the list of foreign teams which have come and gone in the local league since 2003.
In addition to the teams above, both Albirex Niigata and Brunei DPMM are currently involved in the SPL.
There was also chatter about Johor Darul Ta’zim sending a youth side to participate in the SPL in 2021, but there has been no developments on that end as yet.
MAIN PHOTO: INSTAGRAM/BERNARD TAN