The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) received $22.36 million from Sport Singapore in grants for the last Financial Year, an increase from $19.20 million from the previous financial year.
But FAS President Bernard Tan has made a call for more money and more support from partners and sponsors.
Tan, who assumed the role of President given that there was no contest for the Preisdency, made the call at the association’s 41st annual congress held on 23 September.
In a blog post loaded onto the FAS website, the national football body said that Tan “emphasized the need for enhanced funding and deeper private sector involvement in Singaporean football”.
He also stressed that “long-term, sustainable funding is essential for the ecosystem’s growth and stability” and that “more substantial investments are required, especially for grassroots and youth football programs, age group teams, the Singapore Football League, and developmental courses”.
Another interesting point he highlighted was the “importance of funding key positions within the FA, particularly quality head coaches, in order to effect substantial positive changes”.
It is unclear if he was targeting any particular body but funding for National Sports Associations (NSAs), and the quantum of support is decided by Sport Singapore, with NSAs also needing to raise funds on their own.
The annual report does not indicate which roles are funded and which are not funded by Sport Singapore but Tan acknowledged that public funding was “insufficient to meet these goals while acknowledging the finite nature of government spending” and hence the need to “bridge the financial gap”.
MORE INVESTORS, MORE PRIVATISED CLUBS
In a bid to raise more money for football, Tan expressed the necessity to attract private investors and “possibly create more privatized clubs in the Singapore Premier League”.
Based on the FAS annual report, the national football body received about $1.23 million in sponsorships over the last financial year, an increase from a meagre $428,690 from the previous year.
The $1.23 million, in football terms, is still paltry, considering that in 2016, the FAS raised more than $6 million in sponsorships alone, according to the annual report then.
There was no update about the commercialisation of the Singapore Premier League, structures of which should already be in place.
As of now, Lion City Sailors remain the only privatised club, with Tampines Rovers recently announcing a partnership with Thailand’s BG Pathum United.
Strangely, the blog entry on the FAS website also said that Tan called upon “Singaporean corporations” to view support for local football as a strategic branding opportunity, with the FAS committed to officially recognizing and celebrating corporate partners’ contributions to the sport in return.
So is Tan declining support from foreign corporations which are based in Singapore?
Why the need to only seek support from Singaporean corporations?
ALIGNMENT OF INTERESTS
Tan also called on the fraternity to align on interests, and these include the local clubs, academies, schools, and the FAS itself.
He reckoned that it was of “vital importance for these stakeholders to collaborate and cooperate with each other, in order to ensure the availability of the best players for the Singapore National Teams, ultimately preparing them for international competitions”.
It is unclear if he was targeting any particular club in the Singapore Premier League but what is clear is that the FAS summoned a national U23 player for a polygraph test following his return from the SEA Games earlier this year, in a possible move to check if the player had feigned injury so he could miss the final group clash against Malaysia and return to play for his club.
The Young Lions were smashed 7-0 in that match.
MAIN PHOTO: FAS