Singapore

S-League clubs prepare for downturn

S-League clubs are bracing themselves for tougher times.

Most of the local clubs with jackpot operations are expecting their earnings to drop following Thursday's news that the Ministry of Home Affairs is tightening regulations surrounding jackpot operations.

The new rules will be rolled out over the next two years.

With some moves aimed at restricting access, the clubs are resigned to losing a chunk of their jackpot takings.

Clubs spend between $1 million and $1.2 million a year, with $800,000 from Football Association of Singapore (FAS) subsidies. The rest is raised through sponsorship and jackpot operations.

While it is not known how much the active S-League clubs earn from jackpot takings, several sit-out clubs reportedly had annual grosses ranging from $165,000 to $11.3 million.

The FAS council will meet national sports agency Sport Singapore (SportSG) next month to find out how much funding it will receive for the 2018 S-League season.

SportSG is the gatekeeper of the subsidies the FAS receives annually from the Tote Board, which are reportedly worth $25 million, and the quantum of funding clubs will receive is uncertain thus far.

Geylang International's general manager Andrew Ang called the situation a double whammy.

"We will have to take a more conservative approach when we plan the budget for next year. We need to take a hard look at where our revenues are coming from and then plan our budget, given these uncertainties we face in our funding," he said.

"If our funds are cut, then ultimately, the players and staff would suffer."

REDUCE

Mr Ang said in recent years, the Bedok-based club has been trying to reduce its reliance on jackpot takings, and 30 per cent, or about $300,000, goes towards paying its players.

He said: "We have been engaging and finding more sponsors. Next year, we've got small companies to advertise with us in smaller amounts, from $3,000 to $5,000."

The expected budget cuts will also add to the worries of S-League players, who already face uncertainty in their careers because many are signed on either one- or two-year contracts.


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