Friday, February 20, 2009


Mediocre coverage

It's fair to say the coverage of domestic football in the local English language media is mediacre throughout the region.

In Thailand the Bangkok Post has been covering Peter Reid and the national team a fair bit recently but when Reidy leaves and the expats lose any lingering interest they may have will the Post still cover the xploits of Somchai Rattanakosinchaikulbumphen and the side.

And local league coverage is non existant, even back when Thai Farmer's bank were winning the Asian Champions Cup, presumably because the editors decided their readers couldn't handle the local names.

Oddly enough Malaysia fares a little better. Both papers there have pieces about the game there but mostly it is negative coverage and tries not to offend any of the 'important' people; a fine balancing act. So the national team coach is always easy prey but the guy who appointed him is considered untouchable.

South of the causeway and coverage there is cursory at best, mediocore at worse. Check the weekend's papers and you get to know what size socks Ronaldo wears and Lampard's latest car but you can find sod all about who is playing that night in Tampines or Woodlands.

But when there is negative news these guys are leading the bandwagon. Match fixing is a good 'un as is when the national side loses. The media love that and run polls asking buggers who couldn't even find Bedok Stadium on a map what is wrong with Singaporean football.

Indonesia now has two English language newspapers and one, the Jakarta Globe, does at least provide coverage of the local league, perhaps the only paper to do so in the whole region. At least they make the effort and we can forgive them the odd mistake that seeps through (today they have PSMS playing Persiba Balikpapan instead of Persiba Bantul!). The Jakarta Post, their stodgy, dull old rival rarely bothers. Not unless they can fit the old stereotype of violence or corruption or some coiffured Ibu is late for a coffee appointment at some bland mall.

Four countries, eight newspapers and only one can be relied on for any regular coverage. Thank god for the new media. For the blogs and message boards listed on my links column, for the E zines put together by the fans.

To be honest, in S'pore, the freely-distributed TODAY paper ( does cover the S.League quite extensively on a daily basis... Worth check it out!
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Take today alone (Feb-20) for example, S.League coverage takes almost 2 full pages with 5 pieces of articles on match preview, report & breaking news:

1. "Fitness not an issue for DPMM" (

2. "Koreans 2009not so super" (

3. "No Precious, but Gombak still bullish" (

4. "Same old brand new Sengkang" (

5. "Hot Deal on Friday Night" (

Not too bad, isn't it? :-)
Just curious, what kind of coverage are you expecting? The social dynamic probably prevents anything resembling the British or Australian tabloid culture from sprouting up.

I suppose the argument in Singapore would be the same as ESPN in the States -- "We play to what's popular." Sad as it sounds, people would rather know what Fabio Capello had for breakfast than make the effort to support their local.
you re right about today but it can be difficult to get hold of on certain places

it is sad tb but when it comes to local culture, be it movies, football, music, the preference is nearly always towards the 'foreign' which is a shame

good local bands and movies don t get a look in 'cos there's nobody famous in them.

remember talking to someone a while back about how my brother supported west ham. why came the response, who do they have that s famous

a great irony of the information age...
Fair shout, that. Maybe that's how a bass-ackwards language like English got to be considered 'cool' in certain Asian countries.

Point taken on fame, too. I've lost count of how many quizzical looks I've received when people find out I support Everton ... even more after Li Tie and Li Weifeng left.
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