SPL bids bye bye to Toa Payoh Stadium, Bedok Stadium, Hougang Stadium. Groundshare kicks in for Singapore football.
What will Bayern Munich, Inter Milan, AC Milan, FC Tokyo, New York Jets and Home United have in common?
They all have shared stadiums or are involved in the practice of groundshare, an industry term used when clubs share facilities.
Singapore Premier League (SPL) clubs will share stadiums from 2019 onwards.
In a Straits Times report, it was confirmed that only four stadiums will be used for SPL matches from next season.
The four stadiums are:
Our Tampines Hub – Tampines Rovers and Geylang
Jalan Besar Stadium – Young Lions and Hougang United
Bishan Stadium – Home United and Balestier Khalsa
Jurong East Stadium – Albirex Niigata and Warriors FC
This move “provides for more optimal deployment of resources” and “also frees up the other stadiums to be adapted for greater community use”, said Sport Singapore in response to queries by Straits Times.
Bayern Munich shares the Allianz Arena with TSV 1860 Munchen while Inter Milan and AC Milan share the San Siro.
Closer to home, FC Tokyo and Tokyo Verdy 1969 share the Ajinomoto Stadium in Tokyo while East Bengal FC and Mohun Bagan share the Salt Lake Stadium.
In the United States, two New York clubs – New York Giants and New York Jets – share the MetLife Stadium in the Big Apple.
All of Singapore’s SPL clubs including foreign side Albirex Niigata will have to face early adjustment issues as they start to mark out territories in venues or rebuild fan bases due to the change in their home grounds.
What also needs to be considered would be added facilities for training and also added ground maintenance if usage becomes extensive.
What groundshare does allow is the possible reinvention of the spaces used by old stadiums like Toa Payoh, Hougang and Bedok.
In resource scarce Singapore, this can only be good for the community at large.