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2021 Premier League Begins to Take Shape


Image property of the MPL


While the 2020 MPL season had some dramatic storylines, notably the battle between Ulaanbaatar City and Athletic 220 FC for an AFC Cup spot, fans will be glad to have a fresh start in 2021. While there are still many unknowns for the upcoming season, two major details have been revealed.


One of the most important changes from a perspective of growth and stability is a new primary sponsor for the league. Beginning with the 2021 season, Chinese electronics manufacturer Hisense will sponsor the Hisense National Premier League. The influx of foreign money will surely be key for a growing league aiming to professionalize itself. The deal with Hisense is the first new title sponsor since before the 2018 season when the league entered into a 3-year sponsorship agreement with Mazala. The league also announced a smaller deal with local store PC Mall.



Image property of the MPL


In addition to a new league name, the lineup of teams competing next season also holds a few surprises. BCH Lions and Khoromkhon FC join the league as the champions and runners-up of the 1st League in 2020. However, last year's 9th place MPL team, Ulaanbaataryi Mazaalaynuud remains in the league despite its poor season.


It is likely that Mazaalaynuud takes the place of Anduud City which is absent from the 2021 lineup. City's fate is unclear but all signs point to a collapse of the club. During the 2019 season, players spoke out and left the club over unpaid wages. The team responded that it had found the funds to pay the players and become stable again. However, in November 2020 German CEO Christian Wolf announced his departure from the club, including selling off his ownership shares. It is unclear whether the club will continue to play at a lower level or dissolve completely.


Anduud City broke into the top flight as Goyo FC in 2017. After an impressive rebranding for 2018, the club seemed to have the means and desire to become on of Mongolia's most ambitious clubs. Three years later and it has collapsed.