The format for the 2023-24 Cambodian Premier League (CPL) has been announced and unsurprisingly there are no real surprises with it.
To read about the Cambodian Premier League click here.
The upcoming season for the CPL will feature 10 teams, namely the eight teams who participated in 2022 – and yes that includes the “relegated” Kirivong Sok Sen Chey, as well as ISI who finished runners-up in CPL 2 and Prey Veng, who at 5th were barely above mid table.
To read about the dissolution of EDC FC click here.
Who will be taking pity in the 2023-24 Cambodian Premier League?
In order of position last year the 2023-24 participants are slated to be;
- Phnom Penh Crown
- Visakha FC
- PKR Svay Rieng
- Boeung Ket
- Tiffy Army
- Angkor Tiger
- Kirivong Sok Sen Chey
- ISI (2nd in CPL 2 – 10th overall in Cambodia)
- Prey Veng (5th in CPL 2 13th overall in Cambodia).
Were there any surprises? In essence no there were not, with club licensing largely dictating the places rather than good old fashioned football. The one surprise perhaps at least to Satoshi et all was just how many clubs have folded since this format was originally decided and its announcement now.
And the format?
The league will start on August 6th after the Cambodian Super Cup between Phnom Penh Crown and Visakha and will feature a double round robin followed by everyones favorite “playoffs”.
Last season the playoffs proved somewhat controversial and some would opine meant the wrong team actually won the league.
One good move though is that games have been moved from Saturday to Sunday, with CPL 2 moving in the other direction.
To read the exit interview with Conor Nestor click here.
The 4+1+1 foreigner rule was also confirmed, whereby 4 players can be from any FIFA nation, one can be from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and one can be from ASEAN. This can also be translated as up to 5 AFC players and up to 6 ASEAN players.
Of these 6 registered players only 3+1+1 may be on the pitch at once, thus encouraging teams to have players from South-East Asia. While not specifically mentioned this will also be the rule for the 2023-24 Hun Sen Cup.
What about CPL 2?
Sadly nothing was announced, so everything we have to go on was garnered from the last meeting with clubs. That is that at best 6 real clubs will participate in the league and the rest “might” be made up of reserve sides.
We also know that the CPL have become extremely jittery at the prospect of more clubs going bankrupt and have been frantically asking individuals to enter teams, an offer as far as we know no one has taken up. The sad irony here though is that had the clubs that have already dissolved been supported, perhaps they might still be here.
And as for CPL 2 playoffs? One has to feel these will be unlikely bearing in mind where you finish does not really affect your promotion chances, and also the fact that half the league will likely be made up of reserve sides. Although with that being said the CPL not allowing reserve sides to be promoted should not be taken as a given.
What does the announcement tell us about the CPL?
Sadly that the league has far more in common with the closed franchise leagues of the United States, rather than the best leagues in the world such as the Premier League, or even Japan, which was supposedly an inspiration for CPL.
The 8 clubs who played in the 2022 top tier have remained in the league largely making a mockery of the 2022 season, but perhaps even more shocking were the two clubs promoted.
ISI for their part at least finished 2nd in CPL 2, but Prey Veng could only manage a paltry 5th, jumping over 4 clubs to reach the top flight, despite also getting relegated in 2021. Combine this with the fact many see them as merely an affiliate of Visakha and the whole affair simply leaves a bad taste in the mouth.
Yet despite all of its faults at least the league is returning, it is just a shame so many clubs did not survive to be part of it.
This article is adapted from BPVE, (https://bpve.com/) reported and edited from the great team – Cambodia Sports Review. (https://www.cambodiasportsreview.com/)
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