Game Over For DPMM FC!

DPMM FC's assistant team manager Ali Hj Momin

Jason Thomas

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

Saturday, October 3, 2009

DPMM FC'S season is officially over.

The reigning Singapore League Cup champions have been told by the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) that they cannot finish their debut Singapore League (S-League) campaign because of the world governing body's decision to suspend the Football Association of Brunei Darussalam (BAFA) during its Executive Committee meeting on Wednesday.

A letter from FIFA's secretary general Jerome Valcke dated Oct 1 and received yesterday revealed that "the FIFA Executive Committee decided that BAFA's suspension (was) in accordance with Article 14, Paragraph 1.'

" ... And (as a) consequence of Paragraph 3 of the FIFA statutes, with immediate effect until the re-instatement of BAFA by the government, DPMM FC can therefore no longer play in the S-League."

FIFA also sent the letter to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) and Brunei's Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports.

DPMM FC will appeal to reverse the verdict because before the start of the league earlier this year, the FAS was officially informed by FIFA of its approval for DPMM FC to compete in the S-League for the entire 2009 season.

During a brief visit to Brunei in February, AFC president Mohamed Bin Hammam who is also a member of the FIFA Executive Committee said that FIFA had given the Brunei club the authority to compete in the S-League based on the recommendation and approval of AFC.

"As for how long they can compete, on a personal level, I guaranteed their participation until the end of the season," Bin Hammam had promised.

The FAS has not formally informed DPMM FC that they cannot compete in the S-League and DPMM FC's assistant team manager Ali Hj Momin is hoping for the best when met yesterday.

He said that the club would appeal the ruling since they were assured of their participation for the whole season, and since they only had five games to go and were currently fourth in the 12-team league, their expulsion from the league at this stage would be a waste.

When asked about the team's next game on Tuesday against Sengkang Punggol FC, Ali seemed resigned with their fate.

"The club and the management are sad and shocked to have received this news," he said.

"Our season is over. With this letter from FIFA I don't think the FAS will let us play.

"But we will appeal to the AFC and FIFA to let us finish our remaining games since we were assured in the early stage of the season that we will be able to compete for the whole season," he added.

Another source in the club, meanwhile, said that the FAS announced in a Press release yesterday that DPMM FC's game against Sengkang would be postponed, so perhaps not all hope was lost.

"The club at this time would like to thank our supporters and sponsors who have been with us from our time in the Malaysian League (M-League) to now in the S-League," said Ali during the interview.

"DPMM FC represent Brunei and we hope the relevant authorities can look into this matter to find a solution.

"This is not just for the club but for the future of Brunei football," he stressed, adding that it was obvious the players' quality had improved because of their exposure to the M-League and S-League.