Subsidies for S.League clubs to sign LionsXII players
FAS gives each side an extra subsidy of $130,000 to sign LionsXII players
Ahead of the 2016 season, the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) has given the six local S.League sides $130,000 each, on top of existing subsidies that can reach up to $800,000 per club if they meet all the key performance indicators.
The move was made after the FAS assured all the LionsXII players they would receive the same salary when they sign with other clubs.
Singapore side the LionsXII were left in the cold after the Football Association of Malaysia suddenly announced late last month that they would no longer play in the country's club competitions.
The FAS quickly decided to disband the team with the view that a majority of the players would join clubs in the S.League - Singapore's own professional football competition.
Speaking to The New Paper yesterday, an FAS spokesman said: "We have communicated previously to all clubs and the LionsXII players of the current open market system, where clubs and players are free to negotiate terms, which is favourable to players who may be offered a higher salary than the amount they are getting this year.
"To further encourage clubs to sign our players, and to ensure we honour assurance of the LionsXII players getting at least the same salary as they received this year, we have agreed with the clubs on a subsidy that is fair to everyone.
"We are pleased to note all clubs are supportive of our proposal.
"This open market system will end on Dec 18, following which we will put players who have not secured a playing contract into a drafting system.
"We will continue to work closely with the clubs to ensure all the LionsXII players secure a contract for the 2016 S.League season."
Tampines Rovers have already signed six LionsXII players, and chairman Krishna Ramachandra said: "It's definitely going to help clubs who are unable to pay the full salary of a LionsXII player, and it helps the players to at least stay in the same financial position in terms of their wages."
Balestier Khalsa chairman S Thavaneson agreed, and added: "We certainly welcome this move by the FAS, which shows its support for both the players and the clubs.
"We all know the players have been unfortunately caught unawares by the announcement that they will no longer play in the Malaysian competitions and we want these players to quickly find a team with at least the same salary."
However, he also urged the players and clubs to look at the long term with some perspective.
"I hope everyone won't get carried away by this one-off subsidy which will be for only the 2016 season," the veteran football administrator warned.
"In 2017, market forces will apply and the players' salaries may not stay at the same level, especially if the Asean Super League doesn't take off then.
"Clubs should be judicious in how the money is spent and be careful not to leave themselves over-stretched after this season."
It is understood that each of the six local clubs - Home United, Warriors FC, Hougang United, Balestier Khalsa, Geylang International and Tampines - are encouraged to sign at least three of the 28 LionsXII players, which includes former captain Isa Halim, who moved to the Stags in mid-season and has been released since.
FAS development team the Courts Young Lions, who are also in the S.League, are thought to be keen on signing the likes of striker Khairul Amri, midfielder Zulfahmi Arifin and right back Nazrul Ahmad Nazari to help mentor the national Under-21s as they prepare for the 2017 SEA Games and 2018 Asian Games.
The S.League will kick off its 21st season in February with nine teams, including champions Brunei DPMM and Japanese outfit Albirex Niigata.
It’s definitely going to help clubs who are unable to pay the full salary of a LionsXII player, and it helps the players to at least stay in the same financial position in terms of their wages.
— Tampines chairman Krishna Ramachandra
We certainly welcome this move by the FAS, which shows its support for both the players and the clubs.
— Balestier chairman S Thavaneson