Q and A with the On Tap Premier League Chairman

We spoke to the On Tap Premier League Chairman Charles Opanwa about the exciting changes which will take place in the league this season. The On Tap Premier League is the biggest amateur football league that takes place in Taipei on Sundays.

 A new team has joined the league (Royal Vikings) to take the number up to 14, and for the first time since the league started, it will split into a first and second division.

Thanks very much to Charles for taking the time to answer our questions.

1. The league has added one more team to the league this year. What was the decision behind this? 

The OTPL formerly known as TPL started in 2005 with 8 teams and later dropped to 6 in 2007. Over the past few years, we have increased in number. The increase is an evidence of growth, it shows we are progressing and have been an accommodating league that makes room for expansion.  

2. The league oddly kicked off before Chinese New Year this season, what was the reason for starting the new season so quickly after the old one just ended?

We started our qualifiers season earlier than usual because we plan to finish the season by June before the peak summer period when the weather in Taiwan gets extremely hot. The well-being of players is one of our top priority, we don’t want to play under extremely hot temperatures. That’s why we started early so that we can finish before the peak summer season.

3. The league will split into two divisions for the first time since the league began, how will it be decided who will be in the first division and who will be in the second division?

We are currently playing the qualifiers for the new season. Out of the 14 teams in our league, the top 7 will play in our first Division while the bottom 7 will play in our second Division.

4. Do you think that the split makes the league more competitive?

Yes, the split will indeed make the league more competitive in the sense that teams will be putting in their best to feature and remain in the top Division. We are already seeing the competitiveness, from some of the games that have already been played. Teams are playing to feature in Division one.

5. How many teams will be promoted and relegated in the new format?

In the new format, there will be 7 teams in each Division, the team that finishes first in second Divisions will be promoted to first Division while the bottom team in Division 1 will be relegated to Division 2. In the future, if we added more teams then we will also review the promotion/relegation format to suit the numbers.

6. What do you think will be the benefits for the league due to the league split?

Teams are going to benefit in so many ways, let me start with the monetary aspect, the registration fee per season will be low because the numbers in each Division is going to be lower than what we have had in past seasons. The days of tight schedules will be over. We won’t be playing year round without a considerable amount of break period. Also, teams will have the opportunity of playing teams at a similar level.

7. Will you be happy to allow more teams to join the league next season?

We are open to accepting 1 or 2 teams next season and maybe more in the future. We are not just a league, we are a community too and since our mission is to promote football in Taiwan, we are willing to accept like-minded teams to join our league.

8. How can people looking to play football in Taipei get involved with joining a team? 

Anyone interested in getting involved with joining a team can reach the teams through our website atwww.atsoccer.tw  and click at the logo of the team you would like to join to get more information about the team or visit our facebook page OTPL @ontappremierleague for more information.

9. Are there any other changes to the league this season?

We will be playing most of our games on artificial grass pitches, unlike previous seasons, where we encountered a lot of cancellations for games scheduled on grass pitches due to weather-related challenges. In Taipei, teams are not allowed to play on grass pitches when it’s raining or if you can see any visible sign of water on the pitch.

10. Are there any challenges the league is facing?

Yes, one of the top challenges we are facing is sponsorship.  We are looking for local business owners and corporate organizations that we can work within promoting and expanding the football community in Taiwan. Getting some sponsorship deals will help us in our day to day running of the league and also minimize the financial burden on teams. Let me use this opportunity to thank OnTap Taipei for their continued support to OTPL league over the years and to hummel, our official ball sponsor.  

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