SINGAPORE, Jan 27 (Reuters) - Singapore's plan to inject
both cash and professionalism into its domestic football league
took a fresh twist on Thursday when the city-state sold the
naming rights of its own Under-23 national team.
The Young Lions, set up by the Football Association of
Singapore (FAS) in 2003, are the world's only age-restricted
football team competing in a professional league.
In what was described as a major milestone for 'Project
Tribe', officials announced the team would, with immediate
effect, be known as the Courts Young Lions to reflect a
sponsorship deal with electronics retailer Courts.
The project aims to establish stronger links between soccer
fans and local clubs.
The S.League has been struggling with dwindling attendances
and a lack of interest and officials have been coming up with
ways to give the game a boost such as scheduling fixtures in the
afternoon to avoid clashing with televised matches of the more
popular English Premier League.
"I think there is probably more money expended in marketing
the (Premier League) in one minute than in the S.League in 12
months," Project Tribe's Ian Mullane told Reuters, adding that
they were not trying to compete with English football.
"That would be mammoth to take on by any stretch."
Courts will commit S$1 million ($781,402) over a period of
two years, during which its logo will be emblazoned across the
front of the Young Lion's jerseys and stadium.
The new logo was unveiled in the VIP box overlooking the
team's home ground at Jalan Besar to a handful of media
"The S.League needs as much support as possible from
Singapore's private sector to continue development and will
ultimately benefit from more corporate involvement," said FAS
President Zainudin Nordin.
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