SINGAPORE, Jan 20 (Reuters) - Singapore football officials
think they have found an answer to dwindling attendances and a
lack of interest in the local game - play ball with the English
Singapore is a football hotbed in Asia but fans are more
passionate about English sides such as Liverpool and Manchester
United than the S-League's Geylang United and Tampines Rovers.
The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) hopes scheduling
domestic fixtures in the afternoon to let fans get home and
switch on the television to watch English football will boost
attendances and help the game grow.
"This could allow fans time to watch an S-League match and
get back in time to catch their English Premier League matches
on TV," FAS General Secretary Winston Lee was quoted as saying
by the Today newspaper.
"It will be a pilot project and, if fans like it, we'll look
at how we can implement it more."
The sorry state of Singapore football saw the FAS disband the
national team following a spate of lacklustre performances
including failure to qualify for the AFF Cup knockout stages -
the premier ASEAN football tournament.
FAS President Zainudin Nordin pointed to youth as the way
forward for football in the city-state and the association has put
top priority on youth development, requiring all clubs to set up
training programmes for under-16 and under-18 players.
Centres of Excellence will be created to complement youth
programmes at the national level.
"When you look at our Youth Olympic Games team, they
captured Singaporeans' imagination because this is their team,"
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