Bhutan Premier League

The Bhutan Premier League, currently known as the Bank of Bhutan Premier League due to sponsorship reasons, is the men's highest division of professional football in Bhutan. It also provides Bhutan's entrant for continental competition, the AFC Cup.

Bhutan Premier League
Bhutan Premier League.png
Organising bodyBhutan Football Federation (BFF)
Founded2012; 11 years ago (2012) (as National League)
Number of teams10
Level on pyramid1
Relegation toBhutan Premier League Qualifiers
International cup(s)AFC Cup
Current championsParo (3rd title)
Most championshipsParo (3 titles)[1]
TV partnersBhutan Broadcasting Service (selected matches)
Eleven Sports (live streaming)
Current: 2022 season


The Bhutan Premier League operates as the highest level of football in Bhutan. Competing teams in the league play each other twice on a home and away basis. Previously, when the A-Division was the country's top league, all matches were played at Changlimithang, the country's national stadium, making home and away distinctions essentially moot. Whilst the Thimphu-based teams still play their matches at that ground, the regional teams maintain their own stadiums, so that genuine home and away fixtures now take place.


League competition in Bhutan got off to a slow start. Although a full ten-team league was set up in 1986,[2] there seems to have been little or no organised football for the next ten years. Between 1996 and 2000 there was some form of organised football, but it is not clear the extent to which this involved teams from outside of Thimphu.[1]

Some form of football whereby national champions were crowned was played between 1996 and 2000, but it was only in 2001 that the A-Division was created.[1]

In 2001, the A-Division was created as a football competition for teams in Thimphu and was the premier league in the country, supplying the Bhutanese representative to the AFC President's Cup. The first season of the A-Division essentially took the form of a national competition, closely mirroring the current format of the National League.[3] A qualifying tournament was held for teams from Thimphu (in which a team from Paro also competed), from which the top teams progressed to Super League, which also included teams from Samtse and Gomtu, and would have included teams from Phuentsholing and Chukha, had they not withdrawn.[3]

However, this was the last time for over a decade that teams from outside of Thimphu would be involved in football at the highest level in Bhutan. In 2011 the A-Division was played only as a single round-robin set of matches in anticipation of the establishment of a true national league.[4]

This did not occur though and it was only in 2012 that the inaugural competition took place, a six team league consisting of the top three teams from that season's A-Division representing Thimphu, namely Drukpol, Yeedzin and Zimdra, together with Phuentsholing (representing Chukha District), Samtse (representing Samtse District) and Ugyen Academy (representing Punakha District).[4] The inaugural league commenced having signed a three-year sponsorship deal with Coca-Cola worth Nu 3 million in total,[5] along with further sponsorship from Tashi Beverages, Druk Air, Zimdra Food and Samden Group,[6] with the aim ultimately to have a football team playing in the National League from each of the 20 Dzongkhags according to the Bhutan Football Federation.[6] Thimphu dominance of Bhutanese football continued initially, with Yeedzin winning the first National League title.[4] Along with the title, they received Nu 400,000 in prize money, with second-place Drukpol receiving Nu 200,000 and Ugyen Academy Nu 100,000 for their third-place finish.[6]

However, teams from outside the capital city soon proved that they could compete with those who had considerably more top flight experience the following season, as Ugyen Academy became the first non-Thimphu team to take the title,[7] and with it the Nu 400,000 in prize money, with second and third place teams Yeedzin and Thimphu City taking Nu 200,000 and Nu 100,000 respectively.[8] The number of teams based outside of Thimphu decreased in 2013 following the withdrawal of Samtse, a situation which continued in 2014 following the withdrawal of Phuentsholing as well, although they were replaced by Bhutan Clearing, competing for the first time in the National League.[9] In an attempt to attract more non-Thimphu teams into the competition, the federation increased the prize money from Nu 400,000 to 700,000 for the winners. The runners-up were given Nu 400,000, increased by 200,000 from the previous year, and the third-placed team was awarded Nu 200,000.[10] No AFC President's Cup place was awarded to the team finishing in first place this season, because the 2014 edition was the final edition held.[11]

In 2019, structural changes took place in the league system and the competitions were rebranded. The top tier was renamed as the Bhutan Premier League, and the qualifying competition as the Bhutan Super League.[12] The Super League ceased after the 2020 season and was replaced by the qualifying tournament for the Premier League.[13]

2022 teamsEdit

List of winnersEdit

List of winners
Season Winner Runner-up Third place
2012–13 Yeedzin Drukpol Ugyen Academy
2013 Ugyen Academy Yeedzin Thimphu City
2014 Druk United Ugyen Academy Thimphu City
2015 Terton Thimphu Thimphu City
2016 Thimphu City Druk United Ugyen Academy
2017 Transport United Thimphu City Ugyen Academy
2018 Transport United Paro Thimphu City
2019 Paro Transport United Thimphu City
2020 Thimphu City Ugyen Academy Paro
2021 Paro Thimphu City Transport United
2022 Paro Thimphu City Druk Lhayul

Performance by clubEdit

Performance by teams
Team Winners Runners-up Third place Years won Years runner-up Years third
Paro 3 1 1 2019, 2021, 2022 2018 2020
Thimphu City 2 3 5 2016, 2020 2017, 2021, 2022 2013, 2014, 2015, 2018, 2019
Transport United 2 1 1 2017, 2018 2019 2021
Ugyen Academy 1 2 3 2013 2014, 2020 2012–13, 2016, 2017
Yeedzin 1 1 0 2012–13 2013
Druk United 1 1 0 2014 2016
Terton 1 0 0 2015
Drukpol 0 1 0 2012–13
Thimphu 0 1 0 2015
Druk Lhayul 0 0 1 2022

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Schöggl, Hans; Abbink, Dinant (28 May 2014). "Bhutan – List of Champions". RSSSF. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  2. ^ Burns, Peter; Makdissi, Albert (31 July 2003). "Bhutan 1986". RSSSF. Archived from the original on 13 May 2019. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  3. ^ a b Schöggl, Hans; King, Ian (31 July 2003). "Bhutan 2001". RSSSF. Archived from the original on 13 May 2019. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  4. ^ a b c Stokkermans, Karel; Jigmi, Sonam (19 September 2013). "Bhutan 2011". RSSSF. Archived from the original on 13 May 2019. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  5. ^ Phuntsho, Tashi (14 December 2012). "National football league kicks off today". Kuensel Online. Archived from the original on 26 August 2014. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
  6. ^ a b c Phuntsho, Tashi (25 February 2013). "Yeedzin FC wins 2012 Coca Cola league championship". Kuensel Online. Archived from the original on 2 January 2014. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
  7. ^ Schöggl, Hans; Stokkermans, Karel; Jigmi, Sonam (20 February 2014). "Bhutan 2013". RSSSF. Archived from the original on 13 May 2019. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  8. ^ Phuntsho, Tashi (25 November 2013). "Ugyen Academy FC win national league by a single point". Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 7 March 2017.
  9. ^ Stokkermans, Karel; Jigmi, Sonam (22 May 2014). "Bhutan 2014". RSSSF. Archived from the original on 1 July 2014. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  10. ^ Phuntsho, Tashi (8 July 2014). "Drukpol FC-4, Druk Star FC-2". Kuensel. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
  11. ^ "ACL: East vs West final proposed". Asian Football Confederation. 25 November 2013. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013.
  12. ^ "Football clubs in Bhutan gearing up for Bhutan Premier League (BPL) 2020". 24 July 2020. Archived from the original on 21 April 2021. Retrieved 7 April 2021.
  13. ^ "BOB Bhutan Premier league to Kick Off early". Bhutan Football Federation. 12 May 2021. Archived from the original on 12 June 2021. Retrieved 2 June 2022.

External linksEdit