First two, then four, and now three.
It appears Brunei DPMM will have an advantage on the field over local clubs in the upcoming S-League season, as far as foreign imports are concerned.
The issue of how many foreigners the Bruneian club would be allowed to sign was discussed at a meeting between Football Association of Singapore (FAS) top brass and local S-League club chairmen at the Jalan Besar Stadium last night.
The Straits Times understands that the FAS pitched a compromise to allow DPMM to field three. It is understood the club chairmen agreed. Prior to last night's meeting, DPMM already had the freedom of not being bound to age restrictions over their local players.
The six local S-League clubs are allowed to sign only two imports and are also required to follow age restrictions for their squads and the teams they field.
Age restrictions have also been placed on the S-League's other foreign side, back-to-back champions Albirex Niigata.
After the meeting, FAS deputy president Bernard Tan told The Straits Times: "The negotiations are ongoing, but what I can say is that we are very close to an agreement. We have been consultative with all parties involved, because we want to make sure DPMM's participation in the S-League is meaningful for them and for us."
The negotiations are ongoing, but what I can say is that we are very close to an agreement. We have been consultative with all parties involved.
BERNARD TAN, FAS deputy president, on a deal being brokered with DPMM and local S-League clubs on the foreigner quota.
Tan added that the FAS valued DPMM's participation in the S-League, and highlighted their title win in 2015 and three League Cup triumphs as a sign of the quality they bring.
When asked if any local club chairmen raised any objection that DPMM will have an advantage over them this season, Tan said: "I can tell you there was no problem."
Balestier Khalsa general manager Cheng Tim Nee said: "There was a slide presented to all of us, Bernard explained the rationale (of the rule), and we all agreed. There was no unhappiness." Added Warriors FC general manager Paul Poh: "All the clubs were supportive and agreeable to the suggestion. We don't see one extra foreigner as being a very big difference."
DPMM had taken issue with the S-League's announcement on Dec 18 that it would reduce the number of imports each team are allowed, from three last year to two.
The club made moves to join either the Malaysian and Indonesian domestic competitions this term but both plans failed to materialise.
DPMM head coach Rene Weber was then quoted by Bruneian media, saying the club were allowed to sign four foreigners, with two under the age of 25. After last night, it appears a new number has been agreed upon.
The S-League starts on March 31.