FAS reply misses the point

Funding for S-league clubs from reader Andrew Chan

The Football Association of Singapore's (FAS) reply, "Clubs, league to get stronger finance" (The New Paper, July 14) to reader Chan Siang Ming's letter, "Channel funds to help struggling S-League clubs" (TNP, July 11) is either misleading or misses the main point raised.

Mr Chan had asked specifically why the S-League management team would need to be expanded at a time when established clubs like Geylang United had to resort to letting staff go, including veteran manager Lim Tong Hai.

Mr Alvin Tham of FAS replied that the association has secured more funding for the clubs over the next few years. Mr Tham's reply gives the impression that this is a recent move aimed to help the clubs tide over their current financial woes. But is this really the case?

The truth is that the announcement of the increased funding was made early last year. In other words, clubs have already been given an increase in funding since last year. What does it say about the current state of the S-League if established clubs like Geylang are still struggling even after they were given additional support for 2011 and this year?

Mr Tham's reply has given me reason to share the sentiments espoused in Mr Chan's earlier point: Does the S-League management really understand what the clubs are going through?

Mr Tham and S-League CEO Lim Chin should also reflect honestly on why they have failed to attract more crowds to S-League matches.

Mr Lim and his team should ask themselves: If some few hundred fans can make time and effort to support the LionsXII in their away matches ("Fans on their minds", TNP, July 14), why are these same groups of fans not attending S-League games? Also, why are the media, except for The New Paper, not covering the S-League matches?

Indeed, TNP deserves special praise - it is the only newspaper which has faithfully covered all S-League matches over the past few years. But I wonder how much longer can TNP and die-hard fans like myself continue to support the S-League, if Mr Lim and his team fail to liven up the declining league?

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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