SINGAPORE - Singapore's football chiefs are
throwing money at their domestic clubs in a bid to breathe new
life into their ailing S-League.
The Singapore Football Association (FAS) will pump 40% more cash subsidies into their 12 professional clubs -
and offer up to 100 percent more in performance-based subsidies.
"The increase in funding is to assist clubs to strengthen
their financial position, raise the clubs' management
capabilities, attract more quality players, intensify their
community engagement and enhance clubs' youth development
programmes," FAS President Zainudin Nordin said.
Singapore's S-League, launched in 1996, has always
struggled to escape the shadow of the hugely popular televised
English Premier League.
Its average attendances have bobbled around the 2,000 mark
with last season's average just 1,417, according to local media.
A number of measures have already been introduced to boost
the local game's popularity including scheduling domestic
fixtures in the heat of the afternoon to let fans get home and
switch on the television to watch English football.
Earlier this year the city-state sold the naming rights of
its own U23 national team to electronic retailer Courts.
The Young Lions, set up by the FAS in 2003, are the world's
only age-restricted football team competing in a professional
Already under the sponsorship scheme football greats Pele and
Eric Cantona have visited the U23 team in Singapore.
FAS chief Nordin said on Tuesday the additional funding was
aimed at boosting all aspects of Singaporean professional football.
"Ultimately, the additional funding should lead to more
competitive teams in the league and better match day experience
and entertainment value for our fans," he said.
"This will in turn increase the number of supporters turning
up at the stadiums. Fans are the heartbeat of Singapore
football. Their support is critical and remains a vital
component in the development, progress and success of Singapore
Last year each S-League club received cash and
performance-based subsidies of up to S$549,000 (£268,269).
The news of the increase was immediately welcomed by one
"We appreciate the relentless efforts of the FAS President
and his management team in securing the additional funding for
the clubs, which is crucial in strengthening our financial
position and assisting us to reach the next phase of our growth
and development," S. Thavaneson, vice chairman of Balestier
Khalsa FC, said.
"The onus is now on us to utilise this additional financial
support to bring our club to the next level and deliver the KPIs
(key performance indicators), including an enhanced football
experience for our fans.
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