Tanjong Pagar Utd given green light to play in S'pore Premier League
FAS approves Jaguars' application to rejoin league, after club consolidate their financial position
Tanjong Pagar United, who have sat out of the domestic professional football league since 2015, had felt they were ready for a return since 2017.
They had applied to rejoin the league for the past three years, but were rejected each time.
Yesterday, the Jaguars, who were among the eight pioneer clubs of the S-League in 1996, finally received the green light from the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) to take part in this season's Singapore Premier League (SPL).
The FAS said the club met "all the necessary pre-requisites... for participation in the SPL 2020 season".
"We are all very happy to be able to return after sitting out for so many years," club chairman Raymond Tang told The New Paper yesterday.
"We look forward to helping develop Singapore football as well as grooming younger talents. To do that, we are going to form a committee and start recruiting players and so on."
This return will be Tanjong Pagar's second after they were excluded in 2005 due to financial woes. They featured again in the league from 2011-2014, before sitting out in 2015, after running into money trouble once more.
Tang is mindful of the pitfalls of overspending.
The 54-year-old, who owns a car dealership, is expecting Tanjong Pagar, who won the Singapore Cup and FA Cup in 1998, to spend within their means.
"In our first season back, we are not going to aim for the top-three positions," said Tang, who added that they could play their home matches at the Jurong East Stadium, sharing it with Albirex Niigata.
"There are so many teams in the league with so much experience, so we won't be able to match them.
"Of course, we are going to try our best to dominate and push ourselves. But we will go in slowly, work within our means.
"We don't want to be over-ambitious and end up going haywire financially, and have to sit out again."
In a media statement last week, Tang said that the club have "consolidated sufficiently and, with their prudent financial management, are now in a stronger financial position to make this commitment".
Yesterday, he offered more insight into the club's financial position, sharing with TNP their revenue streams.
"Our main source of income used to be our jackpot machines until May 2019," said Tang, who took over the reins from Edward Liu last year.
The club's jackpot licence was not renewed as sit-out clubs were not allowed to have jackpot operations due to tighter regulations.
"But, because we sat out the past few years, we haven't had much expenses. So we have accrued savings," Tang added.
"We also conduct football clinics in schools and events as well as have fund-raisers to boost our coffers."
Tang also rebuffed the notion that Tanjong Pagar's return was to make up the numbers, after the beleaguered Warriors FC were told to sit out the 2020 season.
The FAS said last week that Warriors owed more than $800,000 to players, staff, the Central Provident Fund Board and Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore as of last year.
"We have been applying for a few years and each time they looked at the financial side, among other things," said Tang.
"This year, we are ready."