S.League: RHB Bank and FAS tie the knot

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RHB Bank Berhad, represented by country manager Jason Wong (left), and Football Association of Singapore (FAS) president Zainudin Nordin (centre), at a ceremony marking the bank's 10th anniversary with FAS on 3 May 2014. The bank also re-affirmed its' support for the RHB Singapore Cup tournament by pledging to stay on until 2016. The new three-year deal is understood to be worth more than $1 million.

Not just a partnership, but a "marriage".

That is the relationship RHB Bank Berhad believes they have with the Football Association of Singapore (FAS), after they penned a new three-year deal as title sponsors of the Singapore Cup last Saturday.

This will be the 10th year of the bank's sponsorship of Singapore club football's biggest knockout competition.

The New Paper spoke to RHB Singapore country head Jason Wong (JW) at the signing ceremony last week. He has been such an unwavering supporter of local football.

RHB Bank's partnership with FAS is one of the longest in local sports right now. How significant is the milestone and why have RHB decided to stay on after all these years?

JW: I mentioned how our sponsorship journey with the FAS has been like a "marriage".

Indeed, not even genuine marriages can last 10 years!

There certainly were ups and downs, but, we have a great partner in the FAS who worked very closely with us to resolve the challenges that came our way, and jointly we have continued to ensure the vibrancy of the RHB Singapore Cup year-on-year.

The decision to renew our sponsorship for another three-year term was a logical one for us because of two reasons.

Firstly, supporting the development of local football is our long-term commitment to the community. Our ultimate goal is to revive the interest in Singapore football, and first we must work towards developing quality players and matches.

Secondly, the RHB Singapore Cup is one of the premier football tournaments in the region and it allows us to reach out to the ASEAN countries where RHB Bank has a presence in or is interested to venture into, such as Cambodia, Laos, Brunei and the Philippines.

Five foreign teams have been invited to this year's competition and it includes three clubs who will make their debut in the RHB Singapore Cup. What will they bring to the competition?

JW: Cambodia's Svay Rieng and Nagacorp, and (Laos side) Champasak are consistently among the top in their respective domestic leagues and their participation makes the tournament even more challenging for the S.League clubs, who might not be so familiar with their strengths.

It adds a little bit of uncertainty and is very exciting, especially with the grouping of fixtures so far.

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