Where does Khmer Football fit on the Global Pyramid?


There’s no doubt that CPL has improved the image of the game here in Cambodia. There is no doubt that football is growing, not just in terms of popularity, but in terms of quality. The development of the game itself as an industry is happening very quickly.

The big question now is how far has the football on the field developed? And where where would Cambodia’s club teams feature in the world’s top leagues?

Starting At The Top……

The English Premier League is by far the the most well funded, best entertainment in terms of football and the best quality there is on the planet. The home of football without any shadow of a doubt.

To give you some comparisons and some ideas of how the two two leagues compare, last season over 100,000 people bought tickets to football matches here in Cambodia. Old Trafford has 60,000 people every week. So that will give you a very good idea of just how far away Cambodian football is from the world’s top league.

Image change Was Needed.…

Whilst it is growing, it’s still not seen as part of mainstream society. It’s still in large areas of the country frowned upon and seen as a waste of time. For many decades before football here was overshadowed with a very male dominated community that centered around alcohol and gambling. In recent years great work done by the FFC and people such as Chris Grant at Svay Rieng the image has shifted.

Where Would we Fit in The Weekend?

Next Step FC new coach Callum Brooks recently said in discussion “From what I’ve seen in these past couple of weeks here in Cambodia, having watched ISI versus Tiger in the League Cup and a behind closed doors friendly between Next Step and Soltilo the standard would rank around conference level in England”.

Now this will seem, maybe insultin, to the locals but let me assure you that conference level in the UK is very much professional. Players are paid as professionals. This is their job. The standards are exceptionally high. To give you one example, Marcus Haber, who was at Stevenage at that conference level, scored 20 goals in his in his time at Stevenage, 22 goals last year at Svay Rieng.

Broadcast Right The Major Difference….

It’s probably unfair of us to compare Cambodia league to the English League to begin with because as we all know the English live, breathe and die football as part of their everyday culture and society. Families are far more likely to go and watch football on a Sunday than they are to go to church. What we can say ave be very proud of is football here is progressin. The country’s most popular sport is growing every single day in popularity and quality and the money being invested now is becoming very real. We are still hopeful that CPL can tie down a TV deal or at least streaming rights, Premier League rights sold for six billion pounds It’s an exciting time…

This article is adapted from BPVE SPORT Cambodia, reported and edited from the great team – Cambodia Sports Review.


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