The club which was started as Police FC with the inauguration of the S-League in 1996, and then assumed the name Home United in the 1997 season, now has a new name for the upcoming Singapore Premier League (SPL) season in 2020.
On 14 February, Home United announced that it would now be known as Lion City Sailors FC.
The club also has a new owner – Sea – which will assume 100% ownership of the club, making it the first privatised club in the history of professional club football in Singapore.
Sea is Singapore’s largest consumer internet company and parent of Shopee, Garena, and SeaMoney.
Forrest Li, the founder, Chairman and Group CEO, of Sea, will serve as Chairman of Lion City Sailors FC.
Mr. Li said, “Sea is proud to be a Singaporean company, and we are proud to play our part in elevating Singapore football to the next level.
“By uniting with a club with a rich heritage, exceptional fans, and a great organisation, we intend for Lion City Sailors to set a new benchmark for footballing excellence in Singapore and the region.
“As a passionate fan myself, I know that Singapore has a huge community of people who love football, and our hope is that Lion City Sailors will strengthen that passion and ignite a new era for the development of the game locally. We look forward to supporting the development of Lion City Sailors and guiding this great club into a new period of success.”
The Lion City Sailors have signed Ausralian Aurelio Vidmar, the former Socceroos captain as their head coach from Adelaide United.
The team has also taken on the likes of Singaporeans Hassan Sunny, Gabriel Quak, Shahdan Sulaiman, Japanese defender Kaishu Yamazaki and Aussie forward Andy Pengelly.
Vidmar said, “The players and staff have worked really hard over the pre-season to lay the foundations for success this season. This is a hugely exciting moment for the club and we will work hard to give our fans a lot to cheer about this season.”
In a Facebook note, the new kid on the block said that the the launch of Lion City Sailors is set to “inject fresh momentum for the SPL”.
The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) said that corporate involvement that can invigorate the league.
The President of the FAS, Mr. Lim Kia Tong said, “The FAS is committed to enhancing the professionalism of the SPL in order to establish it as a quality product.
“This pilot project is a significant milestone for the league as it enters its 25th season and marks a historical chapter that could potentially shape the future of the professional football landscape in Singapore.
“Sea has a proven track record of building and managing successful businesses, and the FAS has complete confidence in their ability to steer the club to new heights.”
The Lion City Sailors will take on defending champions Brunei DPMM at the Bishan Stadium in their opening match.
Photos: Lion City Sailors