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."

Monday, March 25, 2013

"The 5 Stadiums" - could be the ticket to ACL that saves the blushes

TNP broke the "5 stadiums" story on 20th March 2013
I'm not sure if the news that surfaced days ago brought a sign of relief to the game administrators in this country?

I am pretty sure it did, when The New Paper (TNP, pictured above) reported that five football-specific stadiums will be incorporated in the five Regional Sports Centres (RSC) around the island under the Singapore Sports Council's (SSC) 20-year master plan.

As a matter of fact, something similar to these proposed five stadiums were also mentioned in the "Strategic Plan" (pictured below) alongside with the NTC (National Training Centre) that are hardly being updated on their status progress, as compared to those achievements of the youth development and tied-up with other FAs in accordance to the "Plan".

Something similar to "The 5 stadiums" proposal
With the announcement of the RSC proposal, it could mean the game administrators would not have to worry about the sourcing of funds to build these grounds, when the funding are to be picked up by the authorities instead (please correct me, if I am wrong).

Although the idea of co-sharing the stadiums among the S.League clubs as proposed in TNP report did not get many that excited, with possibility of housing more than two different club offices under the same roof that could cause some "inconveniences".

Some projected issues would be the redrawing of catchment areas for fan base of each S.League club and willingness of supporters to travel "a bit further" to their "home" game at "designated" stadium (i.e.: will Tanjong Pagar fans travel to their "home games" in Jurong, should one of the "five stadiums" is to be located?).

No doubt Hougang Utd fans will travel to their heroes go (file picture)
However, one should bear in mind that travelling to matches is something that is accustomed to the game culture with having a bite or drink before/after to go with it.

Thus, if clubs had already rooted themselves to vicinities they based, they shouldn't worry their faithfuls would not travel a bit more to see their team in action (like in overseas, where some fans travelled almost one hour or so to their "home" games in suburban areas).

Unfortunately, for those who voiced their opposition to this proposal did not go further to explain their reasons other than labelled it with those unsavoury terms when I first posted the snapshot (pictured below) on the blog's Facebook page.

Some thoughts were shared on the proposal

While, some asked if the land scarcity or the recently announced "Population White Papers" had something to do with formulation of the proposal?

May or may not that the recent announcement of the "White Papers" could be the weighting factors, but cast those suggestions aside, I wondered if some of us overlooked another crucial factor - the possibility of staging Asian Champions League (ACL) games? (as singled out during a chat with a friend who pointed it out)

Bishan Stadium saw Burmese fans in full force in last year's AFC Cup
The grouse that we have all these while is most neighbourhood stadiums (owned by SSC) used for S.League matches have not met the cut stipulated by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) for ACL and AFC Cup matches that Jalan Besar Stadium (with Bishan Stadium earning the nod last year) has been the only ground deemed suitable.

With a capacity that could be between 5,000 to 20,000 seats for the each of these proposed "football-specific" grounds, hasn't that met the minimum capacity requirement demanded by AFC for staging those continental club tournaments?

So what it does need now too is what highlighted by Tampines Rovers chairman Mr Teo Hock Seng in the TNP report to have "the facilities complies 100 per cent with FIFA guidelines".

Details extracted from the AFC website (Chapter 6, section 33)
Hence allow us some flexibility to stage some games of greater importance should one day the upcoming National Stadium is not available for use.

Still, I would like to add that unless the average attendances at S.League matches and the clubs' commercial activities finally take off to ensure the sustainability to running costs of the grounds, don't be surprise that SSC might rent out them for some non-football activities to balance the books.

At the meantime, let us just wait and see what are in store for football fans in years to come.

2 comments:

  1. I would say if the five stadiums does come to reality, wouldn't it allow another option to utilize these ground - naming rights of these grounds to be sold to corporate groups to generate some much-needed income.

    However, since it's SSC and not FAS to pick up the tab to build these stadiums, it would mean projected income from these "naming rights" could be used for sports on whole and not exclusively football.

    Well, too bad then

    ReplyDelete
  2. If I am not wrong the main reasons of S League clubs being not allowed to play in Asian Champions League is due to the presences of foreign teams in the league and FAS' position is to keep foreign teams in the league in the expense of qualifying for Asian Champions League. Also I believe FAS will continue to allow foreign teams to participate in the S League in the near future since they love foreign teams very much.

    Furthermore how about foreign teams like DPMM and Harimau Muda B? Are they also needs to 'home-based' in the 5 designated stadium since their home ground is at their home country?

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