Defending champions Brunei DPMM’s participation in the Singapore Premier League (SPL) remains in limbo, after the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) announced yesterday that the match between Hougang United and the Brunei side on Sunday has been postponed.
The FAS did not provide a new date for the rescheduled fixture.
In its media statement, the FAS said it had proposed to DPMM to be accommodated in Singapore and to play their matches here. The governing football body “is still working with the club for their travel and logistical arrangements to Singapore”.
DPMM had missed the Oct 12 deadline to confirm their participation in the nine-team SPL that resumed last Saturday after a seven-month suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic. They had received a bye in last week’s fixture.
However, the league could be thrown into upheaval with a fixture pile-up should DPMM be unable to play their games as scheduled. The team had played just one game – a 2-0 win over Tampines Rovers on March 6 – before the hiatus on March 24, and have been pencilled in for an average of two games a week in the restart.
But rival clubs such as Hougang do not mind the inconvenience, as the Cheetahs’ coach Clement Teo said that DPMM “bring quality to the league”.
Not wanting to win the game by a walkover, he added: “There must be valid reasons for the delay. Despite the postponement, we would be happy for DPMM to continue playing… They are defending champions and always push us to the limit, so it would be a pity if they are unable to participate.
“If we have to reschedule this match, so that DPMM can continue playing… we are happy to do so. Sometimes, there have to be some sacrifices made for the betterment of the league. There will be advantages and disadvantages with this postponement, and the positive thing is that we have more time to prepare for our next match.”
Earlier, DPMM coach Adrian Pennock told The Straits Times that the decision to participate in the SPL is not in the club’s hands and that they will respect the rules of the Brunei government.
He also said that his team have had staggered groups-of-10 training sessions since the end of July, but never a full team training since their only SPL game this season.
DPMM defender Charlie Clough said: “I hope we get to play eventually.
Personally, I have worked hard during this long break and so I would like to think I’m ready to go. It would definitely be nice to defend our title.
“Personally, I have worked hard during this long break and so I would like to think I’m ready to go. It would definitely be nice to defend our title.
“That said, it has been a frustrating 2020 for everyone, not just us, and we understand health and safety have to come first.”