For The Record...
"In an interview with Yahoo! Singapore, Zainudin (Nordin, FAS President) reiterated that the S-league will not become a "poorer cousin" once the LionsXII start their Malaysia Cup campaign."

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

[Event] ICC Singapore Set To Rock Again in July

(This entry is formulated by the media release issued by Full Circle PR, the PR agency for "ICC Singapore" with all images depicted in this entry belong to International Champions Cup)

(L-R) José Luis Caminero, Robert Pirès and Maxwell Scherrer
Football fans, mark your calendar this coming July when the International Champions Cup (ICC) will return to Singapore with three of Europe’s top football clubs.



Following the success of last year’s tournament that saw 104,407 fans turned out at the National Stadium to catch the likes of Chelsea, FC Bayern Munich and FC Internazionale Milano, the second installment of the Singapore edition of the ICC will see the participation of Arsenal, Atlético de Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) at the same venue on 26th, 28th and 30th of July.

Patrick Murphy, President & Chairman, Catalyst Media Group.
Acknowledged the positive reception of last year’s tournament in this part of the world is Mr Patrick Murphy, Chairman and President of Catalyst Media Group (CMG), the exclusive developer of the ICC in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as the global distributor of the event media rights.

In a press conference held this afternoon to unveil this year’s tournament, Mr Murphy said:“The support we witnessed in Singapore at the International Champions Cup last year was phenomenal, and we are excited to return to the National Stadium as this year’s only Asian stop in a revamped global tournament format.”

“We are committed to bringing the best of football to the people here and look forward to working with the Singapore Tourism Board to grow and create exclusive experiences for the fans in Singapore and the region.” he added.

Melissa Ow, Deputy Chief Executive, Singapore Tourism Board
Echoing the same thoughts is Ms Melissa Ow, Deputy Chief Executive, Singapore Tourism Board (STB).



“We are pleased to be the only Asia-Pacific stop of the revamped International Champions Cup this year, making Singapore an attractive destination for fans within and beyond Asia this July. Together with our partners, we are committed to delivering a memorable event experience for fans and our visitors.” said Ms Ow whose organization signed a four-year partnership with CMG last year to stage the ICC in the Singapore Sports Hub.

The said press conference also saw the presence of former players of the participating clubs such as José Luis Caminero (Atlético de Madrid), Robert Pirès (Arsenal) and Maxwell Scherrer (PSG) to drum up support for their represented clubs.

MATCH SCHEDULE
  • 26/7 - Atlético de Madrid vs Arsenal
  • 28/7 - Arsenal vs PSG
  • 30/7 - PSG vs Atlético de Madrid
TICKETS ON SALE FROM 30/4/18
This year, UnionPay, the Official Payment Brand of 2018 International Champions Cup in Singapore will be the first sponsor to offer their Cardholders the option to purchase tickets. Customers with UnionPay cards will also enjoy a 10% discount starting on April 24th and throughout the on-sale period.

Official on-sale to the public will begin at 10am on April 30th at www.sportshub.com.sg, Sports Hub Box Offices as well as other physical locations. For more information, please visit www.internationalchampionscup.sg.

SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS 

Saturday, March 31, 2018

"Matchpix" - February-March 2018

(P.S: If you access this site via "come.to/matchpix", please click the "Facebook" icon after you click "HERE" when you want to view the album as that will redirect you to the album, thank you)

  • ABL - Slingers vs Formosa Dreamers 110218
"黑人"posed with fans
It was an ASEAN Basketball League match full of errors that eventually saw the hosts Singapore Slingers walked away with a 72-65 win over the cellar dwellers Formosa Dreamers 寶島夢想家.

Taiwanese celebrity "黑人" 陳建州's presence at the courtside added much glamour to the game and saw the Dreamers GM had a impromptu "meet-the-fan-session" before and after the match.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO SEE THE REST OF THE MATCH PICTURES

  • ABL - Slingers vs Chongson Kungfu 040318
Former Slingers star Justin Howard (55) up against Chris Charles
What amazed me was the fact that Chongson arrived at this ASEAN Basketball League game with only seven players to rotate throughout the game which was your typical Singapore Slingers home performance at Singapore Sports Hub's OCBC Arena.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO SEE THE REST OF THE MATCH PICTURES

  • AFC Cup - Tampines Rovers 0-0 JDT 060318
Tampines (gold top) struggled against an under-strength JDT
Nothing fantastic about this AFC Cup match when many jaws were dropped when JDT (JOHOR Southern Tigers) started their game without their notable names against Tampines Rovers Football Club till second half when Singapore skipper Hariss Harun stepped onto the field for the visitors. The main grouse of the game last night was the poor light conditions that I struggled with my new lenses -_-||.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO SEE THE REST OF THE MATCH PICTURES

  • AFC Cup - Home United 6-0 Boeung Ket 140318
Boeung Kat's GK Sou Yaty watched helplessly as the second goal went in
Sweet revenge for Home United Football Club who crushed Boeung Ket Football Club in this AFC Cup fixture, a week after the Protectors lost to the same opponents in Phnom Penh.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO SEE THE REST OF THE MATCH PICTURES

  • The Launch of Singapore Premier League (#SGPL) 210318
In full colours for the SGPL brigade
The only professional sporting competition in this Republic is now called "Singapore Premier League" (#SGPL).

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO SEE THE REST OF THE PICTURES

  • Friendly - Singapore U23 0-3 Indonesia U23 210318
Rusyaidi Salime earned a yellow in the match
A group of schoolboys up against a team of professional players in this friendly fixture to commemorate the 50th year of bilateral ties between Singapore and Indonesia.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO SEE THE REST OF THE MATCH PICTURES

  • SGPL - Albirex Niigata (S) 2-1 Tampines Rovers 310318
"Shell-shocked"
The Great Eastern-Hyundai Singapore Premier League (SGPL) kicked with the defending champions Albirex Niigata FC Singapore retained the Community Shield following a 2-1 win over Tampines Rovers Football Club at the National Stadium, Singapore Sports Hub.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO SEE THE REST OF THE MATCH PICTURES

Friday, March 30, 2018

A Squished Lion Head

If the rebranding of S.League as Singapore Premier League (SGPL) is being seen as a litmus test for the current Football Association of Singapore (FAS) Council, it would mean there is little confidence on them from the general public.

Right after the unveiling of this worst kept secret of Singapore football days ago, barrage of skepticism were hurled from all corners on the Republic's only professional sporting competition, labelled it nothing more than just comestic makeover than attempt to eradicate the root problems once and for all.

"They are just trying to bury the ghost, without realising that soil can’t keep the spirit out of its tomb," said a former FAS official who declined to be named when sharing his thoughts on this rebranding exercise with this blogger via text.

He added:"Instead of fixing something that’s broken, they give it a new coat of paint and call it new." on the changes such as the name of the competition which many fans opined the name 'PREMIER LEAGUE' is already synonymous with the dominant English Premier League (EPL).

TO BE INSPIRED THE 'RIGHT' WAY. (source)
Other than the name that drawn criticism from the fans, the new Lion head logo is not spared from controversy either.

A number of fans registered their opinions (source:1, 2) on the new logo which some critics insisted there are similarities with a logo once proposed for Detroit Lions in the States and that of the EPL's.

A feedback posted by Sytse Korts, a member on this blog's Facebook page did not mince his words when he suggested the new logo is like "a lion head that looks like it got squished between MRT carriages".

Korts went on to denounce the timing of the rebranding in his post, when he added:"If they (FAS) were gonna (sic) do a name change, it should have been done with more fanfare; announce it now to start in 2019,

"But no, FAS does this less than two weeks before the season starts; no time to properly advertise and build synergy with other brands or have community outreach."

The introduction of the SGPL logo (via FAS media release)
The above mentioned thoughts were echoed by a reader who first posted his thoughts on this blogger's personal platform that was reproduced as one of the comments on this blog's previous entry prior to this.

"This isn't how you do rebranding. Who even rebrands weeks before the start of the season?" said Bhas K.

"Rebranding was the final shot at redeeming Singapore soccer and they (FAS) blew it with this superficial cosmetic toothless exercise.

"There are structural and systemic issues that need to be addressed all the way down to club level as part of rebranding. No one is going to come watch your league just cause you have a new logo and name."

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Peril Of Reckless Rebranding


RIP S.League, Hello Singapore Premier League
Many don't understand why the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) decided to delay the announcement of the new name for the "League", when it was already the worst kept secret in the fraternity in recent weeks.

FAS council member S Thavaneson once remarked in last December "they don't rule out the 'possibility' of it ..." after prior official press releases did not mention the term "S.League" but labelled the tournament as "Singapore’s domestic professional league",

Subsequent weeks following those words by the Balestier Khalsa chairman, several social media updates, seen by this blogger, posted by various individuals in the scene suggested the change of name was imminent.

One club even had to retract a Facebook posting which imprinted the name "Singapore Premier League" (SGPL) after it was posted by mistake before the official announcement was made, FAS did not respond when clarification was requested by this blog on that posting.

Nonetheless, an unrelated article by Fox Sports Asia did mention the new name weeks later after the aforementioned blunder.

WORST KEPT SECRET
This worst kept secret of Singapore football was finally unveiled at the eleventh hour by FAS on the 21st of March with a slate of rebranding initiatives to give the stale setup a new look.

The launch of SGPL was held at the National Stadium's Bank of Singapore Lounge
Nobody would know if these initiatives like new name, new logo, etc. are going to work their magic in lifting the country's only professional sporting competition out of the doldrums.

Furthermore, it would definitely take a while before everybody is going to get used to these new terms, since the name "S.League" had been around for more than two decades (like how some still called SAFSA instead of SAFFC in the early days).

TIMING AND INTENTION
At the meantime, the whole rebranding exercise must have “a concept, look, feel and a timeline for implementation” - an opinion expressed by a marketing consultant whom this blogger spoke to.

Speaking on condition of remaining anonymous, he added:"Unless there is a clear goal in mind, I do not suggest a rebranding initiative just because we want to change,

"As it could be more damaging and harder to do another rebranding in future (if the first exercise failed)."

Players in various club colours in parade
Singled out the importance of both timing and intention for such revamping of image, this consultant stressed that one should only press ahead with the changes if the brand owner wants to show something wholesomely new.

"It takes a lot of hard work on such rebranding that the change must have an impact, otherwise it is pointless to have it in the first place." he cautioned.

Friday, March 02, 2018

Possible Revival of Merlion Cup With This New MOU?

Can the "Kallang Roar" return to National Stadium
Will the three-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Football Association of Singapore (FAS) and SportsHub Pte Ltd, the operators of Singapore Sports Hub, signed days ago set the pace to see the much-awaited revival of the Merlion Cup in the local football calendar?

FUTILE ATTEMPTS TO REVIVE
In the recent years, futile attempts were made to revive the invitational tournament, last staged in 2009 as an one-off fixture when English side Liverpool were featured against the Singapore national team, in the iconic 55,000-capacity National Stadium.

The well-documented spat back in late 2015 between SportsHub and MP & Silva, FAS commercial and media rights partner, over the venue rental costs eventually had the plan shelved indefinitely after talks between both parties broke down.

Reason why FAS did not organize Merlion Cup in 1987 (source: NST)
Since the reopening of the National Stadium in mid 2014, for the Lions to play in this cornerstone of the Sports Hub seems to be something of a luxury and have to make do with 11 out of the possible 22 home fixtures at the smaller venues like Jalan Besar Stadium, Hougang Stadium.

Under the new agreement, the both organizations have committed to a minimum of seven matches to be played at the Sports Hub with a "Home of the Lions" initiative in place to generate deeper engagement with the community through activities like football festivals and stadium tours, according to the joint media release issued by both FAS and SportsHub.

FAS AND SPORTSHUB TO FINALISE DETAILS
When asked if the revival of tournaments such as the Merlion Cup and Lion City Cup would help to fulfill the minimum requirement of games to be played at the National Stadium, FAS said they will be working together with SportsHub on those relevant aspects following the announcement of the said MOU.

In an email reply to this blog, FAS Deputy Director (Marketing) Rikram Singh said:"The Football Association of Singapore and the Singapore Sports Hub are working together to finalise the calendar of events and matches that will both excite fans and create a vibrant slew of activities at the Home of the Lions. More details on these upcoming matches and activities will be announced in due course." 

Still a long way to go before have this being a common sight at Kallang
However, with year 2018 being the World Cup year, there might be a tendency that many marquee teams and names may decline any invitation from the Republic in order to prepare for the greatest show on earth, even though the International Champions Cup (ICCSG) will be staging its second edition at the National Stadium in few months down the road.

THE CHALLENGES AHEAD
It would also be difficult to entice these top quality sides to play friendly matches here in Singapore given the evolution that taken place in the game for past decades, an opinion shared with this blogger by a game analyst.

"It will be a very good treat for the fans if we are able to invite strong foreign age-group teams or even full national teams for a mini-tournament series like the Merlion Cup." said Tam Cheong Yan, a longtime observer of local football.

"But it may not be as easy as it was, say, twenty years ago. Football standards around the world have changed, and top-billing teams like England, Uruguay or even Japan are going to need a lot of persuading to come here and play against Singapore.

"But those are the kind of teams fans want to see. They may not respond so well if we secure good but not-so-glamorous opponents - and even those teams will take some convincing to decide to come here."

** UPDATE: FAS replied to the query sent by this blog and this entry is being updated with the reply from the relevant official on 3rd of March 2018. **

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