Koh Kong FC who very nearly won promotion last season are considering dissolving, or reverting to a provincial club and not competing in the Cambodian Second Division in the coming season. The news was reported by Football News Cambo, but has not been confirmed by the club.
The events follow on from a number of other clubs having already confirmed they will not compete in the coming season, or are considering dropping out. BPVE most recently reported on the dissolution of Soltilo Angkor FC, who were part-owned by former Cambodian coach Honda.
You can read about Soltilo here.
Why are they considering dropping out of CPL 2?
The club are reportedly considering dropping out due to the rules related to licensing now in Cambodian football. These include being a private non-state entity, as well as owning your own stadium among other things.
Another reason suggested by reports is Koh Kong’s difficulty in finding a main sponsor for the upcoming season. This has been an issue reported by many clubs, partly due to the long break in the season due to restructuring, as well as the current instability related to the league as a whole.
To read about the Cambodian Premier League click here
Will there be a CPL 2?
As things currently stand if the CPL decide to expand to 10 clubs, then there are potentially only 4-45 clubs “confirmed” to take part in the second-tier. These include Siem Reap FC, Next Step FC, Bati Academy, National Police, as well as a reported new Sihanoukville based club, but with major question marks over whether the state owned EDC FC and now Koh Kong FC can, or will compete.
The licensing issue has already proved controversial among stakeholders, with one former manager telling BPVE “No one denies club licensing is the way to go in the long-term, but it will take time and smaller clubs should be encouraged, not forced out of business”.
What can the CPL do to fix the situation?
What CPL 2 clubs need now is two fold, both clarification and support. From a clarification point of view they need to know that the Cambodian Second Division will take place, and indeed what the confirmed rules will be to take part. Without this clubs are at real risk of financial ruin as they currently sign deals with sponsors and players.
From a support point of view the Football Federation of Cambodia (FFC) as well as the CPL have money. This money needs to be redirected to the smaller clubs who by and large do not have big money benefactors, but instead rely on the cash provided to them by the league. An amount that was woefully inadequate last season.
The CPL and the FFC might also need to amend their rules in order for the competition to take place. This would involve a degree of backing down and perhaps losing face, but is by far the lesser of two evils if it stops half of the league going out of business.
Many though were hopeful that the league would still take place with one official telling us “The most likely scenario is that takes place, but is either smaller, or delayed”.
Yet for those planning and indeed investing money, real assurances are needed and they are needed soon.
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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