FAS: All fans treated equal
The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) insists there was no ploy to "gain a psychological advantage" over Causeway rivals Malaysia ahead of the potentially fiery derby clash on Saturday, as claimed by a Malaysian newspaper yesterday.
In a story headlined "Why the double standards?", the Malay Mail claimed that in the Group B opener between Malaysia and Myanmar, the latter group of fans were allocated 3,000 seats, while 1,500 went across the Causeway.
The Mail also reported that some Malaysian fans were turned away at the Customs Checkpoint, while those who made it to the Jalan Besar Stadium had problems bringing in Malaysia flags, although in an accompanying picture, there were a few Malaysia flags in the background. The official match attendance eventually hit 3,532.
FAS spokesman Gerard Wong said yesterday: "We believe in fair play and both countries were treated equally. There are no intentions on any one's part to gain any advantage.
"Following discussions and inputs from the authorities, both Myanmar and Malaysia were allocated 1,500 tickets each for Sunday's game.
"The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) had requested for us to pass them the tickets, so that they can sell directly to their fans.
"After the FAM returned us the unsold tickets, these were then made available at SportsHub's ticket box offices."
It is understood that the FAM returned more than 1,000 tickets, which were then sold via SportsHub's ticket box offices, which required buyers to declare their nationality before making a purchase.
Wong clarified that ID checks were conducted at all entrances for both sets of fans and not only for Malaysians.
He added: "The FAS is not aware (that many Malaysian fans were left stranded at the immigration checkpoints) and we are sorry to hear that."