DPMM FC only allowed three overseas players

Fadhil Yunus

DPMM FC are only allowed to fill the quota of three foreign import players in the currently suspended Singapore Premier League (SPL) season, following a raft of changes and developments implemented for the Singapore’s top flight this year.

The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) made the announcement during the closed season on the increase in the imports’ quota to four for all local clubs, up from one in the 2018 season.

DPMM FC head coach Adrian Pennock confirmed one of this year’s main changes in the league, with his side having to register one overseas player less than the other teams.

“We are not allowed to have the same number of foreign players as the Singapore-based teams. We are only allowed three overseas players while all the other Singapore teams can have more,” said Pennock in an interview with the Bulletin recently.

“I find it incredible. It should be a level playing field and from the start it is not the case,” said Pennock whose side now are facing a period of uncertainty in continuing their season.

File photo shows DPMM FC players in a training session. PHOTO: FADHIL YUNUS

The latest change came as the league’s wait for a local team to be crowned champion continues since Warriors clinched the title in the 2014 season.

Pennock said, “They’re desperate for a Singapore team to win it. I think it has been five or six years since the last time a Singapore-based team won the league.”

“We surprised a lot of people last year and I suppose they are very disappointed that a Singapore team didn’t win it.”

The head coach has been prepared to embark on another test in repeat of their championship-winning season last year when they stunned a host of onlookers to win the title. He said at the time, “We are Brunei DPMM FC and we will be up against it this year. We were up against it all last year.”

Prior to the enforced break, defender Charlie Clough and striker Andrei Varankou have both extended their stay with the Brunei-based outfit while goalkeeper Emerson has been brought on to fill the void left by Blake Ricciuto, who departed the club after one season.

The Gegar-Gegar men earned a stunning 2-0 victory at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in their only game of the season against Tampines Rovers FC in early March courtesy of strikes from Clough and Varankou in either side of the half.

The Singapore Premier League has been suspended since March 24 in line with official government’s measure to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, having initially being contested behind closed doors.