Opinion: Is this the Mainland Premier League or European football?

The silly season has finally arrived. After a summer filled with players turning their backs on club loyalty to chase greener pastures, and managers bemoaning other clubs for allegedly using unfair advantages to lure their prized players away, we finally reach kick off this weekend.

What is this – top-flight European football? Sadly not, but the Mainland Premier League doesn’t lack any of the off-field drama.

With the amount of player movement each year and the constant allegations of clubs offering players unfair monetary incentives, you’d think we’re talking about the English Premier League. In reality, we’re talking about a grass-roots club competition in a section of a country whose men’s team is currently ranked 122 in the world.

Most professional leagues around the world have a ‘big two’, or ‘big four’. The MPL is no different with their ‘big three’ of Cashmere Technical, Coastal Spirit and newly-promoted Christchurch United – the clubs widely viewed by those in the football community as the prominent clubs paying players to play.

If you’re starting to wish you were a bit more talented at football to make an extra dollar or two, don’t worry, there’s still money to be made.

Last year Bet365 – an online betting company based in the United Kingdom – offered betting on the MPL, Canterbury Championship League and even the MPL reserves grade.

Assuming they offer betting on the league again, will they know Western have lost the majority of their key players from last season? Unlikely, meaning when they offer up odds for anyone playing last season’s fourth-placed finishers in 2019, they’re likely to be over-inflated.

It’s worth noting Mainland Football appears to be upping the ante on player payment and any potential betting related match-fixing. This year players in the league have been made to sign an amateur player agreement.

As for those of us watching from the sidelines – happy punting, people.

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