Young Lions face $50,000 penalty
Young Lions could be first S.League side to be hit for finishing last
It was a rule implemented at the end of the 2012 season to make the Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League more "competitive and interesting", in the absence of a promotion-relegation system.
The idea was to give poorly performing teams something to fight against - a $50,000 penalty.
The Garena Young Lions have two games left to play, before their 2016 campaign comes to an end.
They have managed just two wins in 22 league games and they will need to win the two remaining matches to avoid becoming the first team in history to be slapped with the penalty for finishing last.
In response to queries from The New Paper, an S.League spokesman clarified the rule yesterday.
He said: "In the absence of a promotion-relegation structure in the S.League, a system of financial disincentive has been in place since 2013 to ensure that all clubs put in their best effort throughout the season to avoid finishing in the bottom two positions.
"The penalty for the two bottom-placed teams comprise financial subsidy deductions of $30,000 and $50,000 respectively, unless the club achieve at least 20 per cent of the maximum total number of points available for the S.League championship for that year.
"This rule applies to all teams participating in the S.League."
With nine teams participating in the league in 2016, playing each other over three rounds of matches totalling 24 games, a side will have to amass at least 15 points to escape punishment.
The Young Lions have only nine points to date, and must beat Home United on Friday and title-chasing Tampines Rovers on Oct 15.
The eighth-placed S.League side are Balestier Khalsa on 15 points and are already clear of the league's "financial disincentives".
Patrick Hesse's Young Lions are effectively the Republic's Under-21 national team preparing for the SEA Games next year.
They have been beefed up by the addition of senior internationals Khairul Amri, Firdaus Kasman and Christopher van Huizen, as well as a 23-year-old foreign goalkeeper Benjamin Bertrand, but that has not helped the team's results.
Each local S.League club receive up to $800,000 in annual subsidies from the S.League in cash, as well as for meeting predetermined key performance indicators (KPIs). But TNP understands that the Young Lions do not receive the same amount.
The team are believed to be mainly funded by the Football Association of Singapore (FAS), as well as through funds from main sponsors Garena.
S.League chief executive Lim Chin insisted that, despite the close association between the FAS and the S.League, the "financial disincentive" paid by the Young Lions, should it come to that, will not be a paper exercise.
"The Young Lions, like any other club in the S.League, also qualify for (subsidies based on) KPIs," said Lim, who declined to reveal the amount received by the club.
"The payment (of $50,000, should that happen) would be deducted from the Young Lions' subsidies from the S.League.
"The S.League budget is not the same as the FAS budget, so (the financial disincentive) is not purely cosmetic.
"The money will go back into the S.League budget, to be disbursed to other clubs or to be used by the S.League."