How The Saudi Pro League Will Affect Cambodian Football

Cambodian Football

The talk of the summer in football terms has been the Saudi petrodollars and how they are revolutionizing world football. For the most part this has been encapsulated by the signing of global superstars such as Ronaldo and Benzema, who are literally being paid billions to compete in the Saudi top division.

A lesser known part of this story though is that this project is not just looking to give big pay days to aging stars, but also attract some of the best young talent across the world throughout the nations divisions. And this is the why and how the Saudi Pro League will affect Cambodian football.

Saudi Arabia offer huge salaries for 3rd divan players

The major news of course has been dominated by Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, N’Golo Kante, Ruben Neves, Kalidou Koulibaly, Roberto Firmino, Marcelo Brozovic and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic have all moving to Saudi on earth shattering wages, but it is a recent add that may well shake the apple cart a bit more.

According to at least one job advert by a  Saudi third tier club, players players are being offer $200,000 a year tax free, a house, as well as a luxury car such as a Lamborghini.

Now while 200k a year is a pittance compared to the billions being earned in the top flight it is huge compared to other lower leagues in Europe, such as Germany where the average for a third-tier player is around $50,000 a year.

And of course this dwarfs the salaries currently paid in Cambodia. Generally speaking a young Khmer player can expect to earn $300 a month ($3600 a year), while a more establish pro would earn around $800 ($9600 a year) and even internationals just $2000 ($22,000) – money which of course is taxed

And of course there is also the issue of our foreign stars, who even at the top earn between $5000 and $7000 a month ($84,000). Quite simply this means that even at the top of our scale we can but offer less than half what a Saudi third tier club can offer.

Of course thought should also be mentioned that the cost of living is of course much lower in Cambodia. You can read bout cost of living here.

How the Saudi Pro League will affect Cambodian football

So, to the golden question, how will the Saudi Pro League affect Cambodian football? The answer to this multifaceted, but at its core it simply means more money being paid to all players and not just those ones at the top. Bigger wages in economic terms, usually leads to one thing – inflation.

If a talented young Khmer footballer can double, triple, or even quadruple their salary by moving to Saudi Arabia, even to a lower division club then why would they not go? And of course this also goes for foreign players too, many of which come to the Kingdom towards the end of their careers for a last hurrah and of course pay day. Again if the money is higher then the CPL will struggle to attract players. Would a player such as Markus Haber for example, one of the best players in the CPL over the last two years have come to Cambodia if he had received a higher offer?

You can read our Markus Haber interview here.

Thankfully the one thing Saudi cannot offer that Cambodia has in abundance is a nightlife, the ability to drink alcohol and perhaps most importantly weather that is not just bearable, but overall extremely pleasant.

To read about visiting Saudi Arabia click here

And in case you are wondering when this will happen, sadly it has already begun. Just yesterday we reported on Sieng Chanthea moving to Qatar. Of course Qatar is a different country, but it is also following the same MO with regards to building its domestic league. Sieng may have only moved to a second-tier side, but he is just 20 years old and a Cambodian international, not an over the hill retiree. Hopefully it will help him improve his game, rather than be start of a skills drain from the country.

You can read about Sieng Chanthea’s move to Qatar here.

The affects are of course already being felt and seen the world over, with a number of middle of the road players already having signed for Middle-Eastern clubs, thus creating a smaller supply of players on the international market. And of course those that are left, whilst lower quality also want more money.

So, how will the Saudi Pro League affect Cambodian football? It might be too early to say for sure, but the early consensus is that it will be a positive one.

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