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  • Justin Grimm

Ulaanbaatar City Planning a Comeback?

Image property of Ulaanbaatar City FC

Ulaanbaatar City has always been good for an interesting story. It should be no surprise that the club continues to provide them even after supposedly folding.

Yesterday, the UB City social media page featured a post celebrating the eighth anniversary of the club's founding including a photo with former players and members of management celebrating. To end the post, the club said "We will come back! #NeverGiveUp" Club owner and firebrand Dashnyam Ganzorig also shared the post on his personal pages.

In May 2023, Ulaanbaatar City announced that it had withdrawn from the Premier League effective immediately and would cease operations. As the season was still being played, the club forfeited its final few matches, its results were nullified, and UBC was removed from the table.

The club and Mongolian Football Federation and its president hurled allegations against each other including those of match-fixing and corruption that neither side ultimately fully succeeded in proving.

Despite a statement at the time that said the club would return at some level, perhaps in developmental football for young players, it gave no timeline and UBC posted that its home venue, the G-Mobile arena, was for sale. The club does not seem to have found a buyer as of the time of writing.

But why could the team be prepared to return now, less than a year after ceasing operations? The most likely reason is the recent restructuring of the Mongolian Premier League which now sees it as an independent entity completely separate from the Mongolian Football Federation. If Dashnyam's disagreements were with the MFF and its president, UB City will not have to do business with either under the new league structure. Many of the concerns expressed by the Ulaanbaatar City owner were addressed and identified as points for reform during the league announcement last month.

The return of Ulaanbaatar City to the Premier League should be welcome news to any fan of Mongolian football. The league was simply better and stronger with the club in it. The team took unprecedented steps to professionalize and improve the sport in the country, including building its own stadium, bringing in high-profile players from abroad, and attempting to spread its brand in Asia.

First entering the league in 2016, the club finished first, second, and third one time each during its seven complete seasons in the MPL.



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