Football: DPMM take issue with FAS' flip-flop over foreign players

Former Albirex Niigata midfielder Tatsuro Inui is one of nine players on trial at Brunei's DPMM FC. The club remains locked in discussions with the Football Association of Singapore over the number of foreigners it can sign for the 2018 S-League seas
Former Albirex Niigata midfielder Tatsuro Inui is one of nine players on trial at Brunei's DPMM FC. The club remains locked in discussions with the Football Association of Singapore over the number of foreigners it can sign for the 2018 S-League season.ST FILE PHOTO

Brunei side DPMM FC have accused the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) of changing their position on regulations governing the club's participation in the 2018 S-League season.

In a statement on their official website, the 2015 champions said: "After the S-League have decided to allow DPMM four import players, they now decide in having another discussion on the foreign players for DPMM."

The club added that they hope to play in the Malaysian or Indonesian league in 2019. Both posts was removed yesterday.

The Straits Times understands that initial discussions led to a proposal whereby the club could have four foreign signings, including two Under-25 players.

This was criticised by many in the local fraternity as giving DPMM an unfair advantage under the FAS' revamp plans for the league.

The six local clubs are allowed to sign only two non-Singaporeans. They and the league's other foreign side, back-to-back champions Albirex Niigata, also have to follow age restrictions for their squads unlike DPMM.

In response to queries from ST, an FAS spokesman asserted that no final decision had yet been made and added: "The FAS is in discussions with DPMM on their participation in the 2018 domestic professional league, and is also actively engaging with other participating clubs. We expect to make an announcement in due course."

  • 2

  • Non-Singaporean players allowed in the squad of each local S-League team for the 2018 season.

The FAS had engaged with local clubs to get their views, with two proposals being mooted.

The first called for DPMM to be allowed to field two of their four imports in a match. The second suggestion was to increase the quota for local clubs to three foreigners.

DPMM officials could not be reached for comment yesterday.

It is believed that they have already signed one player, 30-year-old Guatemala international Marco Pablo Pappa from Municipal. The Guatemalan top-tier side announced the move on their official website last Friday.

There are nine foreign players currently on trial in Bandar Seri Begawan, including Japanese midfielder Tatsuro Inui, the S-League's Young Player of the Year in 2011.

DPMM were invited to join the S-league in 2009 and won three League Cups before their 2015 league success. They were eighth among the nine teams last year.

They had previously made moves to join either the Malaysian and Indonesian domestic competitions this term but both plans failed to materialise.

The S-League starts on March 31.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 12, 2018, with the headline 'DPMM take issue with FAS' foreigner quota flip-flop'. Print Edition | Subscribe