Game Changers: S.League critical to progress
Game Changers reveal seven-point action plan ahead of FAS election
He has implemented systems and processes that have made Hougang United the only S.League club that is able to fund its own operations, both in football as well as its involvement with the community at large.
Bill Ng plans to implement a similar sustainable commercial approach in the league - if the Cheetahs' chairman earns the mandate from the local football fraternity to lead the sport here.
Ng's Game Changers will contest the Football Association of Singapore's (FAS) first democratic election on April 29, against Team LKT, a group led by former FAS provisional council president Lim Kia Tong.
Presenting the Game Changers' manifesto at the Fullerton Bay Hotel's Clifford Pier on Thursday evening (April 13), Ng rolled out a seven-point action plan for the sport - with the S.League playing a central role.
Ng's plan called for a "fresh commercial approach" to finance clubs and attract sponsors while gradually raising salaries to encourage more young footballers to the S.League that Ng envisions to include between 12 to 14 teams.
The league now features nine clubs.
- Talent scouting
- Commercial activities
- Player care
Each local S.League side now receives some $800,000 in subsidies from the Tote Board, but with commercially sustainable clubs, Ng envisions channeling these funds into the National Football League that is now an amateur outfit.
With the injection of funds, NFL clubs will receive help - in terms of capability building as well as in preparing for a promotion-relegation system to broaden the football ecosystem in the Republic.
Plans for the S.League and NFL were presented under the headline of "competitions" in the Game Changers' manifesto.
The six other key areas as defined by Ng's team are: administration, technical, facilities, talent scouting, commercial activities and player care.
"These seven areas are fundamental elements which are extremely pivotal to achieving success in the modern game of football. It is imperative that we get down to the basics, and start redrawing our strategies to ensure that football in Singapore becomes future-ready, is able to develop at all levels, and which will ultimately bring Singaporeans from all walk of lives together again," said Ng.
"We need to open up more channels for revenue generation. But critically, we need to build football's brand equity as our first priority.
"With a strong brand equity, there will be stronger levels of support from sponsors, and with stronger sponsorships, clubs will be able to get players and strong support systems. With better players, we will get fans turning up."
With representation in the Council, the NFL and grassroots clubs will have a direct link to the management team, and we will be able to help with problem solving as soon as possible. What's more important is that we are able to help the NFL team upskill their capabilities, and we will help them grow so that they will be ready for promotion to the S.League. Muhammad Zaki Ma'arof, candidate for Vice-President
While the Game Changers' manifesto revealed its vision for football, Ng has also put together a timeline for when his team intend to hit milestones for all the plans they have laid out.
The four-phase time line predicts implementation of plans within 24 months, and it starts with a review of existing processes to determine gaps, followed by an engagement of stakeholders before plans are drawn up, prioritised and implemented.
At an event where Ng's Game leadership team were formally introduced, it was also revealed that the National Training Centre will be a key part of plans, along with expanding the FAS' scouting network and ensuring players have options for a career after football.
Said Ng: "Football is a sport which can rally communities, and it is vital that we pool together to bring the roar back to Singapore football."
"Women's football in Singapore needs a lot more support. Our aim is to provide more opportunities for women and girls to play football, have the benefit of talent identification and tracking programs, the allocation of realistic budgets to develop all aspects of Women's football including training and mentoring of more women coaches, referees, technical officials and administrators and other initiatives highlighted in our team's Manifesto."Annabel Pennefather, candidate for Vice-President