Will Foreigners Be Allowed in CPL 2?


With the meeting to finalize the format of CPL 2 cancelled at short notice rumors have become rife about what the division might look like and indeed if it will actually take place.

To read about the Cambodian Premier League (CPL) click here.

The meeting which was due to be held on June 12th was to confirm which full sides were to take part, which reserve sides and other issues such as if foreigners were to be  allowed in the division.

What was the meeting cancelled?

Officially the meeting was cancelled due to a scheduling conflict, with CPL CEO Satashi Sato having to travel to his home country of Japan.

The delay though has again throw into question the viability of the division, as well as if it is to take place at all. Some have even questioned if there are internal issues between the Football Federation of Cambodia (FFC) and the CPL.

What it does definitely mean though is that clubs are again left in limbo and unable to plan for the season, or attract sponsors.

Will foreigners be allowed in CPL 2?

Originally the CPL had suggested that no foreigners would be allowed to take part in the division, which led to a backlash from the existing second-tier clubs. Following this a provisional compromise was reached whereby clubs would be allowed to play 3  foreigners, plus one ASEAN or AFC player.

The main stumbling block for confirmation of this though was which reserve sides would also take part and indeed if they were open to allowing foreign players.

The current rumour is that ISI Dangkor Senchey FC have indeed given their opinion and it is that they do not wish for foreign players to be allowed in the division, something that could throw the whole division into jeopardy.

To read about ISI click here

What no foreigners allowed in CPL 2 will mean?

The view of many stakeholders in the second division and indeed those of us involved in the sport is that not allowing foreigners into CPL 2 would be terribly bad move for a number of reasons.

Firstly despite the financial strain of the 2022 season CPL 2 was a quality product that captured the imagination of fans. Whether we like it, or not this was largely driven by foreign players. Who of course can forget THAT goal scored by Bruno?

Secondly and perhaps more importantly is allowing foreigners is paramount if we are to have fairness, integrity and progression in the Cambodian Premier League. All clubs around the world dream of eventually becoming champions. Remove this ability to compute and we become little more than a closed shop North American style franchise league.

Should we end up with an Under 23 developmental division in lieu of a real second-tier then make no mistake about it,  Cambodian football is not improving, it is seriously regressing.

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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