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."

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Move Out From Home to a Wider City?

I would say the assuming of ownership of the club formerly known as Home United Football Club (HUFC) by Sea, a leading internet company, shall be seen as a breakthrough in the local football fraternity.

The logo of Lion City Sailors (via LCSFC)
The idea of privatization of the Republic's professional football league has always been in the pipeline with little tangible progress till the official announcement was made in the early morning of the Valentine's Day.

"OWNERSHIP" - A NEW CLEAR INDICATION
The word "ownership" mentioned in the press release issued by the official sources is a clear indication to see newly-formed Lion City Sailors (LCSFC) to operate under a new business model that is going to set itself apart from the rest of the local Singapore Premier League (SGPL) clubs.

According to an online search with ACRA Bizfile portal, LCSFC is registered as a "private limited" whereas the other local clubs are "society" registered with Ministry of Home Affairs which licenses are granted to run jackpot operations.

On top of that, LCSFC opted not to receive subsidies from Tote board, which is disbursed by Sport Singapore to offset operational costs of SGPL clubs, since it is now an 100% private entity funded solely by Sea.

(L-R): Forrest Li, Chairman of LCSFC; Lim Kia Tong, President of the FAS; Winston Wong, Chairman of HUFC (LCSFC)
Gabriel Quak (14) is one of the high profile signings by LCSFC 
Prior to the Valentine's Day's announcement, LCSFC already made known of their ambition by making some high profile recruitments both on and off the field, as reported in the media.

"Apart from the club’s on-field ambitions on the domestic and continental fronts, we aim to lead the way in raising the level of football in Singapore, with the senior team right through to the grassroots level." said Badri Ghent, the general manager of LCSFC.

"We will endeavour to build upon the robust foundations laid by HUFC and establish ourselves as the foremost club in Singapore in terms of operations, governance, and community engagement." added Ghent in a statement issued alongside with the aforementioned press release.

The change of the name, however, did not go down too well with some fans and according to a report by Yahoo News Singapore, Home United "will be dissolved within the year".

LCS' IDENTITY CRISIS?
While acknowledged the move is with good intend, a soccer fan expressed his saddness to see the fate of the Protectors following the privatization.

"Just saddens me to see the history of Home United being wiped off in an instance." shared Rk Roland in a comment posted on this platform's Facebook Page of the announcement.

Some other concerns he mentioned included how LCSFC is able to shape its identity and related itself with the community, supposedly with the Bishan residents and if the club will change its name back to "Home United" if Sea decided to relinquish the ownership of the club in the future.

The privatization move was first mentioned last October (file)
Community engagement is always a tricky business for most SGPL clubs and even after more than two decades of professionalism, many clubs are still struggling to fuse themselves into the community fabrics of the vicinities they are located despite being one of the key emphases.

By opted for name that usually synonymous with Singapore, would that mean LCSFC is going widen up its fan base to four corners of the island rather than staying put in its perceived catchment area of Bishan?

PRIVATIZATION FIRST MENTIONED LAST OCTOBER
Only time will tell besides how this privatization move will alter the landscape of the local scene Iike what Football Association of Singapore (FAS) president Lim Kia Tong said in his opening speech during the last October's "FAS Nite".

"... Such development and initiatives, we believe, will bring positive change to the professional football landscape in particular and the Singapore’s football landscape in general." said the FAS supremo at the year-end gala event last October when he first mentioned the possible fruition of this game changing move.

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