SPL fan clubs more proactive than EPL’s, evident in Singapore’s Fan Club Futsal League

The Fan Club Futsal League in Singapore, organised and facilitated by D2D Sports, is back, following the lifting of restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The league was the brainchild of former Brotzeit German Bier Bar & Restaurant chief executive officer, Filippo Fanin.

Fanin, a football fan himself, wanted to use the league as a marketing tool, and his company was generous in its support for the league from the first season.

His departure from the company meant a change in direction, as the company looked at the return on investment, rather than opportunity cost.

The last season the league was not completed, as the government announced a lockdown due to the pandemic in May 2021. As a result, the rest of that season had to be cancelled.

The league is making a renewed return, sans a title sponsor. In terms of participation, it has equalled its previous best of eight teams seen during the fourth season.

It must be highlighted that the competition is not actual futsal because the players don’t play on an actual futsal pitch. It’s more of a five-aside, played on a smaller pitch, and with a synthetic grass surface.

The support by the Singapore Premier League (SPL) fan clubs has been encouraging after many previous failed attempts at recruiting them.

From having zero SPL fan clubs, the league has four this season, which makes up half the league. Hougang Hools (Hougang United), The Crew (Lion City Sailors), Ultras Eagles (Geylang International) and Lightning Tigers (Balestier Khalsa) will be the clubs representing SPL.

There could have been more with Albirex Niigata’s fan club Swan Army, and Tampines Rovers’ Yellow Knights, but they were unable to participate due to a lack of available players in their ranks.

Paris-Saint Germain Singapore Fan Club will be playing in their third consecutive season, while making their debut this season is SINGAGONES – Singapore Olympique Lyon Fan Club.

The other teams in the league are Serie A representatives Milan Club Singapore, who are making their return to the league after an absence of six seasons, and another team making their debut after repeated attempts at recruiting them – Toon Army Singapore.

It is particularly disappointing that from the most widely watched league in the country – the English Premier League – there is only one representative. Liverpool and Manchester United are two of the most widely-supported clubs, but neither could muster enough support or interest among their fans to participate.

It is always easier to sit on the couch and criticise than to play the game and walk the talk.

The enthusiasm and backing of the SPL fan clubs prove that the support in the Singaporean local league is not dead despite the criticism it has attracted over many years.

At least, these fans take the effort to go down to the stadiums to watch their team play and are not afraid to lace up their boots to represent the team they support, instead of just being keyboard warriors.

This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Twentytwo13.