Funding for S.League clubs unchanged
It was an issue of ironing out the financial processes that would meet Sport Singapore's (SportSG) criteria for transparency, but the S.League has finally crossed the hurdle and confirmed its funding quantum for the 2017 season.
At a meeting at the Jalan Besar Stadium yesterday evening, chairmen of S.League clubs were informed that they will receive the same level of funding they received in 2016.
While this news is coming only some six weeks before the season kicks off on Feb 26, the league will experience an exciting first on its opening day.
As The New Paper reported last month, the Great Eastern Community Shield - featuring Tampines Rovers and Albirex Niigata - will be played for the first time at the Singapore Sports Hub.
Lim Kia Tong, president of the Football Association of Singapore's (FAS) provisional council, was pleased that the league can move forward - and with some positivity.
"The funding quantum will be the same as it was in the 2016 season, and this is good news for the clubs, who can now proceed with plans for the upcoming season," he said yesterday.
"In normal circumstances, clubs would have known about the funding quantum by November but, because of the shift in funding mechanisms - Tote Board funds will come to us through SportSG - there were important discussions about SportSG's own criteria for transparency," added Lim, who declined to reveal details of how an agreement was reached on the disbursement of funds.
The S.League is believed to have received some $25 million from the Tote Board annually, with clubs receiving some $800,000, an amount that went a long way to offset their annual budget of between $1.2m and $1.5m.
"There was an important need for discussions with SportSG and there may be teething issues (in the disbursement of funds) at the start," said Lim, whose concern was about when these funds will eventually get to S.League clubs.
"But we believe it is all systems go for the S.League."
Financial uncertainty has been put to rest, but that is not the only thing the fraternity can look forward to.
"The season will start on Feb 26 at the National Stadium with the Community Shield and we're looking to bring the entire football community together," said Lim. "We are also working out details on a plan for activities for various segments of the community."
Lim revealed that the FAS will be making moves to include all segments of the local football fraternity - from its National Football Academy to clubs in the Women's Premier League, Island Wide League, and National Football League - at the first Community Shield fixture to be played at the Sports Hub.