SINGAPORE — Defending champions Brunei DPMM will not be able to take part in the resumed 2020 Singapore Premier League (SPL) season, as they cannot travel to Singapore to play their matches.
In a media release on Monday (26 October), the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) said that it had been informed by DPMM 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, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
There is also currently no confirmation as to when travel can resume at all, due to the evolving COVID-19 situation worldwide,” FAS said in the media release.
“As it is important for the FAS to ensure that the 2020 SPL season can continue so that the league concludes in time in order for Singapore's representatives for 2021’s Asian Football Confederation club competitions to be ascertained, the FAS will proceed with the rest of the 2020 SPL season without the defending champions.”
Abiding by Brunei’s COVID-19 policies
FAS said that it has tried together with DPMM to explore mutually satisfactory arrangements for the club’s participation in the SPL, but to no avail.
It added that DPMM have done everything possible to resume its place in the SPL, but has to abide by Brunei’s national policies set out to contain COVID-19.
"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,” said DPMM general manager Ali Haji Momin.
“We are tremendously grateful for the patience and kind understanding of the FAS over the last few weeks as we both sought for a solution to this matter. 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.”
Lone match played will be voided
The sitting out of DPMM means that the result of the sole match they have already played – a 2-0 victory against Tampines Rovers at Bandar Seri Begawan on 6 March – will be voided.
SPL resumed on 17 October after a six-month break due to COVID-19, with the format of the league revised from three to two rounds to allow the league to be finished by the end of the year. This year’s Singapore Cup has also been cancelled in order to facilitate the league’s completion.
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