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[Guest Column] - "IF ICELAND CAN, SO CAN WE!"

This article is contributed by Mr Chua Kheng Seng who wrote in to share his ideas on how to make the Singapore Premier League (SPL) a vibrant one after he read the blog post which suggested the implementation of a "play-off" system by this blog recently.

Here are some of my suggestions that flash through my mind after I read a blog post by BoLASEPaKO•COM on whether a "Play-Off" system can sustain interest in the Singapore Premier League (SPL)?

As the current SPL does not have a promotion-relegation system with the rest of the local league pyramid system (i e.: Singapore Football League, Island Wide League), it may be a major stumbling block to its growth because of the absence of this convention method to determine who to play in a league.

No promotion/relegation for SPL since Day One
No promotion/relegation for SPL since Day One


This may result in a lack of excitement for the fans or motivation for players to perform at a certain stage of the campaign because the same teams and players are likely to remain in the league set up in the following season.

Revamping the existing local professional league system into a two-division league model may be the answer, and if interest in the league grows, we may expand the league pyramid into a three-division format so on and so for.


Even neighbouring Malaysia has a multi-tier football league pyramid system in place.

While some may argue Malaysia has a larger population and land area, let us take a look at the football league system in Iceland.

Iceland national team in World Cup 2018 (as credited)
Iceland national team in World Cup 2018 (as credited)

The Nordic island nation has a five-division league pyramid system despite having a population of less than 400,000.

Therefore, a small population or land area shall not be seen as a deterrent to having a multi-tier professional league system.


So where can we source the expansion clubs, at least eight of them, for this move?

Perhaps the answer can be found in this Straits Times article on the privatisation of local football clubs.

The league organisers can consider a public tender to invite interested corporate entities to bid for the eight expansion slots in the proposed "Second Division".

Lion City Sailors is the only privatised club in SPL
Lion City Sailors is the only privatised club in SPL 

The government may also help by providing "start-up" funding to these new clubs in their first year of operation.

Since fundings are provided to entrepreneurs, why not a private football club which is to function like a private limited?

With so many active "weekend warriors" playing actively on either futsal courts or school football fields every weekend, I believe some of these amateurs harbour the ambition to turn professional with these "new clubs" if given a chance to do so.


In regards to the match venues, I have seen some nice playing surfaces in places like local polytechnics and universities where these "new clubs" can utilise on top of renting venues from Singapore Sports Hub or other public stadiums.

Once they are promoted to SPL from the "Second Division", they can take over the stadiums of those who are relegated (unless the stadium is already privatised and fully owned by the club).
  • Opinions expressed may not be that of the blog owner
  • The copyright of this article (except pictures) belongs to Mr Chua Kheng Seng


  1. If Lion City Sailors have Mattar Sailors, and Hougang United have Tiong Bahru FC, other clubs should follow suit making some of the SFL 1 / 2, part of their feeder clubs. Then the rest of the SFL clubs can be run under the RC / PA of their respective zones.

  2. agreed
    and absolutely on point
    die hard SPL can even say its more exciting than Liga Super Msia. what are they smoking?
    This relegation/promotion has been vetoed since 2002
    and by that they are restricting talents outside SPL to perform on pro stage. A bad league doesnt help the national team. buck has to stop

  3. It can be done. Only when the right person on board. There are some good schools can be used as venues. It also can help boost the school vendors if they want to participate to provide refreshments for fans. Also there are some football area which offeres good field too like the singapore khalsa association field, can also bring back ferrer park field. In weekend leagues i do see some foreign team which could also attract their countrymen working here. There are alot of untap avenues which can be look into. Just look at when malaysia vs bangladesh last month in their asian cup. Suprisingly bangladesh who is major in cricket especially could fill up the entire away section to support their team even though the chances for them to win is slim. We never know maybe some of the foreign workers here are football enthusiast just that there isnt any push. People can spend $199 to just watch liverpool or other european club playing why cant we look into making the league more attractive to garner their support?

  4. In order to have a healthy ecosystem, we need to have 4 tier of League system. Similar to what we have currently. Tier 1 & 2 should be professional League, tier 3 should be semi-professional & tier 4 should reserve for amateur.

    We should try getting SFL div1 to turn professional and SFL div2 to turn semi-professional. I believe what FAS trying to achieve is there, just that there are many factors that need to be consider such as stadium avaliablity, funding, talents & etc before things can move to the right direction.


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