DPMM FC sit out in remainder of 2020 SPL season

Fadhil Yunus

The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) has confirmed that DPMM FC will not participate in the remainder of the 2020 AIA Singapore Premier League (SPL) this season.

The SPL resumed on October 17 in line with comprehensive match protocols and safe management measures after a near seven-month suspension.

“We have been informed recently by DPMM FC that they are unable to participate in their upcoming fixtures, because there are currently no provisions in Brunei that allow them to travel to Singapore,” the FAS said in a statement.

“There is also currently no confirmation as to when travel can resume at all, due to the evolving COVID-19 situation worldwide,” it added.

The reigning holders were initially scheduled to play against Lion City Sailors in an away match at the Bishan Stadium in Singapore tomorrow.

The Brunei-based outfit had earlier seen their match against Hougang United FC last weekend postponed.

File photo shows DPMM FC’s Abdul Azizi Ali Rahman in action during a Singapore Premier League match against Tampines Rovers FC at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in March. PHOTO: INFOFOTO

With local Singapore clubs vying for spots in the 2021 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) club competitions, the league proceeded with the rest of the 2020 season. The league is on track to be concluded before the end of the year based on the revised schedule.

DPMM FC and FAS have made significant efforts to explore mutual arrangements for the former’s participation in the league.

DPMM FC General Manager Ali bin Haji Momin expressed hopes to return in the 2021 season following the unfortunate event.

“We were looking forward to defending our title this season. However, despite our best efforts, the travel rules have meant that it is not possible for us to do so,” he said.

“We wish the other eight teams the best of luck for the rest of this season, and hope to return for the 2021 season in full force.”

Despite DPMM FC’s absence, FAS President Lim Kia Tong looks forward to welcome them back next season.

He said, “Brunei DPMM FC has been a valued participant of the SPL for a better part of the decade and remains an integral part of our League. We look forward to welcoming them back next season.”

DPMM FC’s only match – a 2-0 home victory against Tampines Rovers FC on March 6 – this season will be voided.