S’pore seek to pull out of ACL

AFC Champions League

The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) has withdrawn its application for direct participation in the AFC Champions League 2011-2012.

FAS chief Zainudin Nordin explained in a letter to AFC President Mohamed Bin Hammam that the Singapore governing body of football would seek direct entry to the AFC Champions League at an “opportune time under the right circumstances in the near future”.

Nordin said it was difficult for the FAS to meet one of the revamped ACL’s criteria that the top league of any national association should not contain any foreign teams.

“We concluded that due to our current lack of critical mass in key areas such as talent pool and resources, there is still a pressing need for us to continue having foreign teams participating in our league, to help address these gaps in our game and safeguard the sustainability of our league in football excellence, commercial and financial terms,” wrote the FAS President.

Nordin pointed out that the purpose of having foreign teams in the S-League was to inject “more excitement and competitiveness for our fans, expose our local teams and players to various styles of play, secure non-Singapore sponsors and attract more fans, especially those from the expatriate community residing and working in Singapore”.

The FAS President assured that AFC’s views on foreign teams in the S-League would be taken into account and the FAS would be working along those lines for improving the league.

Consequently, the AFC’s Special Mission Team’s inspection of the S-League clubs and their facilities, which was due to be undertaken from 12-17 October, has been cancelled. However, a workshop with the participation of all the S-League clubs, S-League, FAS and relevant government officials will be conducted though the date has not yet been set.