First moan of the new Metfone C-League season. Everyone had been told that the opening game would kick off at 2.30pm. Instead the football federation and the television company who are providing live match coverage and highlights this season, CTN, changed the start time at the last minute to 2.10pm, catching nearly everyone by surprise. Especially as the Khmer fans in general, like to wait until the last minute before they arrive. The FFC have simply got to be more organized and keep the local media appraised of such late decisions. CTN, who have replaced TVK, will show one game live each Saturday and then offer a highlights programme on Tuesday afternoons at 4.30pm. I saw Apsara and TVK cameras there too, so presumably they will be showing brief highlights as well.
The new sponsors of the Cambodian Premier League are obviously the Vietnam-based mobile telephone supplier Metfone in a sponsorship deal worth $1.5million over the next three years. The league champions will receive a cash prize of $15K and like last year, at the conclusion of the normal league season, instead of the best team for the previous five months rightfully earning the title of champions, we'll then have a Super 4 play-off in August to decide the top four league placings. Quite frankly it's not how I would run a league competition but on the other hand, the play-offs last year provided great excitement and generated extra revenue. The Crown manager Be Makara suggested to me yesterday that if the federation wants an end of season competition then it shouldn't decide the destination of the league title but instead provide a top-4 battle to decide which team should go forwards to the AFC Presidents Cup. But of course he would say that after Crown won the league competition last term but failed in the Super 4.
One new rule introduced yesterday was that each team can only play 3 foreign players in any one game. That means if they start the game with 3 foreigners, that's their limit and they cannot replace a foreigner with another import during the game. Last season, the rule was 3 foreigners at any time. The new rule smells fishy to me. A few of the teams have signed a raft of new imports but some of them are still awaiting visas and so will remain on the touchlines for the opening games.