Partnerships between private football league operators, national bodies will provide clear pathway, grow the sport

In my last article published on Twentytwo13, I had shed light on the grassroots and community football scene in Singapore.

In an extension of that article, I have some suggestions on how private league football organisers could help the national body organise matches in the republic.

The highest amateur football competition in Singapore is the National Football League (NFL).

I believe the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) should invite private football league organisers to bid and organise amateur football leagues for the national body. This would create a multi-tiered system and a pathway within the NFL.

League organisers that come under FAS’ umbrella can then enjoy benefits, including booking the best, and most sought-after artificial fields, legal support, referees, and league management fees.

FAS would then allow the organisers to work with their sponsors and partners, and should these organisers get non-conflicting sponsors or partners, they are then free to work with those parties.

This is ideal for organisers who seek stability and security. The organisers can further supplement their income by organising leagues for veterans and youths.

Current FAS Amateur League rules dictate that the majority of players should be Singaporeans or permanent residents, but each team is allowed to register a maximum of six foreign players.

Players in the league must be between the ages of 17 and 50. The further a team progresses, the criteria of participation changes to align the team’s eligibility of participating in the NFL.

However, it must be highlighted that not every amateur team harbours the dream of playing at the levels set by FAS.

For those who want to make the huge leap from amateur to professional, the FAS must educate and support these teams. The objective must always be about increasing the number of teams participating in Singapore football at all levels.

The other objective is to create a vibrant and stable structure and to provide teams with a clear pathway – from grassroots, amateur, to professional.

Through this structure, more people will be involved in the sport, either permanently as freelancers, or volunteers. They can be coaches, administrators, managers, photographers, videographers or even sports scientists and physiotherapists.

Admittedly, this is not a comprehensive plan, and there will be loopholes to be filled, as in reality, things are never as straightforward as they are on paper.

But where there is a will, there is a way.

Let’s see if someone from FAS would pick up on this idea. Otherwise, I’d be happy to speak to the good folks at the FA of Malaysia.

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

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