With relegation from the CPL more or less inevitable, CPL clubs Phouchung Neak and Post Tel FC are already starting to look for a financial loophole that would allow them back in the top flight next year
WITH just four rounds left of the Cambodian Premier League (CPL), and it's almost certain that Post Tel FC and Phouchung Neak are heading for relegation. Having been rooted to the bottom of the league all season, the Navy team Phouchung have yet to record a win, their only points coming from two draws, while Post Tel have as just seven points to show for their efforts.
However, Phouchung were relegated from the CPL last year, only to be granted a reinstatement by the Cambodian Football Federation (FFC) due to the withdrawal of promoted side Kampot FC, as well as a strong showing in the 2009 Samdech Hun Sen Cup.
The lower division, Division A1, is organised by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport and is actually a knockout tournament run over two weeks, said FFC spokesman May Tola.
"Normally, there are all 24 clubs representating various provinces, and 4 to 6 teams from Phnom Penh who play in a short tournament in which the finalist go on to the CPL," stated May Tola.
This competition was concluded in June, with clubs Svay Rieng Province and Prek Pra FC from Kandal Province winning through to await promotion into the Premier League. However, due to the high running costs incurred by a club in the CPL, it is not yet certain whether these provincial sides will generate enough funds to maintain a team in the top league.
The FFC have stated that their place in the league is guaranteed by the terms of their promotion policy, however, if sufficient funds are not found, their place can be offered to another club, as happened at the start of the current season with Kampot FC and Phouchung Neak.
Phouchung and Post Tel have both noted their interest to reclaim a CPL spot in the next season. "We are looking at the possibility of taking up any available space if any of the promoted teams decline to come up to the premier league," said Chap Socheat, Deputy Secretary of Post Tel Club.
Navy coach Solomon Demagudu also asserted his team's willing to swoop on any chance to avoid relegation. "We are already looking forward to next season, starting with Samdech Hun Sen Cup, and hopefully we can find a team to take over in the CPL," he said.
Photo by Nick Sells (www.nicksellsphotography.com)