The Lao Premier League 2017 will give clubs another chance to take part in the 2017 season, after only three teams managed to obtained club licences this year.
Lao Premier League CEO Mr Mano Nhouvannasak attends the Lao Football Federation Congress recently.
CEO of the Lao Premier League (LPL) Mr Mano Nhouvannasak told Vientiane Times yesterday that the league committees and the Lao Football Federation (LFF) will postpone the club licensing project to next year given that so few teams successfully applied for licences this year after the application period ended on October 31.
This year Lao football has had a small taste of the concept and development tool that is club licensing. The LFF now requires clubs to have licences before they can compete in Lao Premier League and AFC competitions. The new regulations will help the clubs move towards professionalism. But we must complete the club licensing project by next year for the 2018 season according to FIFA and AFC regulations, and there is still a lot of work to do.
Over the past few months, eight clubs from the LPL 2016 submitted club licensing applications, namely Ezra FC, Lanexang United, Lao Toyota FC, NUOL FC, Saythany City, Savan United, CSC Champa, and IDSEA Champassak.
The federation reported that the Lao Football Federation appointed the Licensing First Instance Body, which assessed the eight applications.
On October 31 the LFF club licensing team revealed that five of the eight teams that applied had failed to meet the national and AFC club licensing criteria.
Three clubs - LPL 2016 Champions Lanexang United, Lao Toyota FC, and Ezra - were successful in their application to compete in AFC and national competitions.
In line with the current AFC and LFF licensing manuals, applicant clubs were assessed in five key areas, namely: sporting, infrastructure, personnel and administration, legal and financial.
Unfortunately, we have decided to formally withdraw the club licensing project so that all previous LPL clubs or new clubs can still participate in the 2017 season. In the worst scenario we would only start the league with three clubs, Mano said.
During the assessment process they gained a deeper insight into the problems that clubs in Laos face. Our aim is to support the clubs as much we can to move Lao football forward, Mano added.
Some clubs disappointed regarding a lack of effort and vision, but don't forget that some ambitious clubs did a fantastic job and put a lot of effort into moving forward. We need to understand that football is more than just a game. If you only have a first team with a few foreign players and the same uniforms it doesn't mean that you are a professional club. Lao football needs sustainable clubs and not only a team that's been put together for just one season, he noted.
Mano said that, with all due respect, when we see that Bhutan and Bangladesh have successfully gone through the club licensing process, we need to ask ourselves where we want to go together.
He also said he didn't want to see clubs invest more than 90 percent of their annual budget on players only, while neglecting qualified management, personnel and administration. Currently some clubs are fighting for their survival and can't pay their players' salaries after being in existence for just one year.
With the new LFF club licensing system and everyone's efforts, we are able to make improvements. In the long term, through the introduction of these new regulations we will enhance the professional ecosystem, landscape and quality of club football in Laos, he said.
We will continue to run more seminars and workshops for clubs, particularly on club management and player support, Mano added.
Next season's Lao Premier League will be very important for the development of Lao football as change looms for all participating clubs. It is essential that they develop, not only in terms of their players but also management, which is key for the future of Lao football.
By Souknilundon Southivongnorath
(Latest Update November 18, 2016)
Source: .Vientiane Times