Thinley Namgay

Bhutan Football Federation (BFF) looks at starting the Bhutan Premier League (BPL) from August.

Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering said that tournaments were allowed but must be conducted without spectators. “Organisers need to be smart. As long as there is no crowding, they can play.”

BPL was supposed to begin after the Bhutan Super League season that completed on March 21.

BFF’s media and marketing officer, Phuntsho Wangdi, said that the tournament would be held closed-door with mandatory precautionary measures for the players and officials in the pitch.

As per the guidelines of the FIFA, players are prohibited from doing the handshake in the ground, spitting, and meeting other team members before the match.

Phuntsho Wangdi said that BFF would inform the clubs’ officials regarding the training schedule for the players before tournament. “Foreign players will not participate in the competition considering the impact of the pandemic.”

He said that the fixture would be drawn soon after discussion with the members of participating clubs.

For the BPL, FIFA and Asian Football Confederation provide the financial support that would address the financial incursion on the football clubs by the Covid-19. Moreover, local sponsors from the tournament help the club owners to support their players.

The champions of the BPL get a chance to take part in the AFC qualifiers match. BBF also selects the potential national players from this tournament.

Consisting of 10 professional teams, BPL is the top domestic football league in the country competing for more than five months every season.

Teams selected for the BPL from the 2020 Bhutan Super League were defending champions High Quality United FC, Paro United FC, Tensung FC, Druk Stars FC and BFF Academy Under-17.

Other top five teams who booked the spot for the tournament based on the performances of 2019 BPL season includes reigning champions Paro FC, Transport United FC, Thimphu City FC, Ugyen Academy FC, and BFF Academy Under-19.

For this season, the venues will be in Changlimithang, Woochu Sports Arena in Paro, and Ugyen Academy ground in Punakha.

However, if Tensung FC chooses to play the match at Wangduephodrang army ground, BFF would consider it, according to Phuntsho Wangdi.