National Stadium to host Sultan of Selangor's Cup
Annual clash will be held in Singapore for the first time in eight years
The Sultan of Selangor's (SOS) Cup will get the red-carpet treatment this year.
The annual event, back in Singapore for the first time in eight years, will be held on May 6 at the crown jewel of Singapore sports, the National Stadium.
The Sultan of Selangor, Sharafuddin Idris Shah, is also poised to grace the event when Fandi Ahmad leads a Singapore Selection side against Malaysian Super League side Selangor.
The 80,000-seater Shah Alam Stadium in Selangor has been the stage for the match since 2010.
Singapore's organising chairman Teo Hock Seng said that assistance from the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) and the S.League was key to securing the venue.
"We've been playing in Selangor a little too often. We wanted to host it this time, so I asked the FAS and S.League for help, and they were kind enough to assist," said Teo, the former chairman of S.League side Tampines Rovers.
"The aim of this - as it was when it first started - was to build a bridge between these two teams that are the two most successful sides in the history of the Malaysia Cup, and we want to maintain that spirit.
"We are still working out the details, but it is finalised, we will play at the National Stadium."
Recent reports have pointed to the prohibitive cost of hosting an event at the National Stadium as a deterrent for some.
It reportedly costs S$180,000 to rent the National Stadium for an event, although Teo declined to reveal the actual cost.
He said: "The cost is a bit high, but it not a big hindrance.
"We come under the banner of the FAS and S.League, and for the sporting spirit - we understand the cost involved - we will do our best. Faith is important."
It has been reported that it costs about RM100,000 (S$32,000) to host an event at Kuala Lumpur's Bukit Jalil Stadium - less than 20 per cent the rack rates of Singapore's National Stadium - but this figure is nowhere near the ballpark cost of other international venues.
In 2009, rock band U2 paid US$252,000 (S$358,000) to hold two concerts at the Meadowlands Complex in New Jersey, with tickets costing between US$33 and US$258.
In 2011, Football Federation Australia paid A$750,000 (S$806,000) in event and transport costs to host the A-League's grand final at Brisbane's 52,000-seater Suncorp Stadium.
Teo stressed that ticket prices for the SOS Cup will be kept low to encourage Singaporeans to turn up.
"We are pricing it at $2 for children and $8 for adults. I think that's affordable, and we are hoping to bring in more than the 10,000 fans from Selangor," he said.
"We are also looking for sponsors to help underwrite the cost."
The annual SOS Cup traditionally features a match between a Singapore selection side and Selangor, and another fixture between former stars of both teams. This year, in its 16th edition, the event will also feature an Under-16 game.
Teo hopes that the history of the rivalry will draw football fans to the stadium.
He said: "There is a bit of that spirit of nostalgia, but when else can veterans like them play at this National Stadium of ours?"