The Cambodian Premier League (CPL) has announced it will not extend the contract of CEO Satoshi Saito when it expires at the end of this year. Saito has held the role since October 2021, ushering in significant changes to the sport in the country during his tenure.

The decision was detailed in an October 31 press release, following a meeting of the CPL’s Board of Directors and representatives from member football clubs.

Saito’s departure marks a surprising turn of events, given his substantial contributions to raising the standard of Cambodian football through his international experience.

According to CPL’s statement, a major reform is underway that will see the restructuring of its shareholder composition. Member clubs are set to become the majority stakeholders, ensuring they have greater influence over the board of directors and the league’s strategic direction.

“As part of this reform, the current board will not renew Mr. Saito’s contract. The responsibility for management restructuring, including key roles such as CEO and marketing and technical directors, will fall to the new board post-reform,” the press release stated.

During this period of transition, CPL said existing board members will provide executive support to maintain the league’s operations until the new shareholder structure is fully implemented.

Saito was appointed as the CPL’s CEO by the Football Federation of Cambodia (FFC) on October 14, 2021.

With a law degree from Keio University in Japan and a Master of Business Administration from a Spanish business school, he implemented several reforms in both the CPL and Cambodian League 2, raising the leagues’ standards considerably over his two-year term.