The fixture list is out, the clubs are all but ready, so how does one watch football in Cambodia during the upcoming season? Here’s the BPVE guide to watching the beautiful game within the Kingdom.
To read about the Cambodian Premier League format click here.
What is the Cambodian football pyramid?
At the top of the Cambodian football pyramid is the relatively new Cambodian Premier League, which consists of 10 largely fully professional sides. Obviously one needs to pay to see these games live, with them also available on TV – which we will get to later.
Tickets for CPL 1 are generally pretty cheap ranging from a few dollars to literally thousands if you want a VIP box at a big club like Visakha.
Below this is the Cambodian Second League, or CPL 2, which while not yet finalized should have 8 teams, with them being a mixture of top-tier developmental sides, as well as a smattering of “real” clubs. Generally speaking the level here is semi-professional, although those who wish to progress usually go pro before getting promotion.
Generally speaking you pay to watch matches in the second-tier which costs at most a few dollars, although some clubs quite literally don’t have stadiums, so you can watch for free.
The third-tier of Cambodian football is the regional leagues that are used for the Hun Sen Cup. Some of these clubs have completed at a higher level previously, or are seeking promotion one day, but for now are in the third-tier.
Almost all tier-three Cambodian matches are held at schools, so it is free to enter, although a few clubs do play in stadiums.
How to watch football in Cambodia on TV?
Up until 2022 and the advent of the CPL matches had been shown on BTV, but alas this did not happen in 2022 as the league aimed to raise $3 million. Alas this meant one year without football, as well as money.
To read about the Cambodian Premier League click here.
Thankfully the situation has now been remedied and BTV, as well as a number of other outlets will be showing Cambodian football. There are also a number of Facebook channels, such as the CPL that also stream matches.
You can read about the 6 broadcasters here.
What is the standard of football in Cambodia?
So, if you do decide to watch football in Cambodia what is the standard like? Generally very good, particularly for a country that only has 18 million people. For context players and managers that move to Thailand tend to go to their second, or third tier.
In comparison to the English Football League the best clubs are around the League 2 level (4th tier), which goes down to around tier 6/7 towards the lower end of CPL 2. Tier 3 in Cambodia is again very much on a spectrum comparable to the lower echelons of English football.
What are the stadiums like?
Football stadiums in Cambodia go from high school pitches to modern state of the art stadiums, such as with Phnom Penh Crown and Visakha. There are other good stadiums such as the Hanuman in Siem Reap that while nice do not have floodlights.
On the lower end in CPL 1 you have Kirivong Sok Sen Chey, whose stadium is quite awful. CPL 2 is also a mixed bag, with Angkor City FC playing at the aforementioned Hanuman Stadium, while National Police play in a muddy field in the middle of Kandal.
Generally speaking you cannot drink at football matches, but the Prince Stadium sometimes put on Prince Beer and overall probably offer the best match day experience.
You will not find pies at Khmer football matches….
To read about Cambodian Football Stadiums click here.
And how about watching the Cambodian national team?
Watching the Cambodian national team, particularly in tournaments is genuinely one of the most rewarding things you can do. The Khmer people are extremely passionate and it is often a carnival like atmosphere.
Tickets are cheap, not usually topping more than $10 and the National Olympic Stadium usually fills up during big hike matches.
Quality wise the country are currently ranked 176th in the world, which puts them slap bang in the bottom quarter from a global point of view. The nation though are hopeful that this will change as they enter a new era under Felix Dalmas, which hopefully at least will mean this is in deed one of the best times to watch football in Cambodia.
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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