Friday, November 27, 2015


Why LionsXII In SLeague Needn't Be A Bad Thing

The Football Association of Singapore have moved quickly (!) to reassure LionsXII players about their future following the unanimous decision from Malaysia to end the agreement that saw the Singapore side play in the Super League for the last few years.

The FAS have told the squad they will keep the players under contract for the 2016 season opening up the prospect of LionsXII competing in the SLeague. At the same time, the FAS have said if players wish to negotiate contracts with foreign clubs or SLeague sides they are free to do so.

While this is obviously good news for the players who typically survive on season to season contracts and must wait bated breath year end for news of whether they will be retainied or not, the notion of what is effectively the national side playing in a domestic league is an interesting one and perhaps one without precedence?

For the FAS they will perhaps see a certain logic in this as it will allow at least the core of the team to stay together ahead of the ASEAN Football Federation Championships next year and of course the much awaited, by the FAS at least, ASEAN Super League which may or may not start some time this decade.

But what would the impact be on the SLeague, won in 2015 by Brunei's DPMM? There is a risk LionsXII, with the priority afforded them by the FAS when it comes to drawing on players, will effectively hoover up the star names in the league and dominate all and sundry. Is that a bad thing? Fans around the world love Barcelona and Real Madrid for precisely that reason after all. And if it puts bums on seats is it a bad thing?

Instinctively I am against the idea of a national side playing in a league like this but could it be an opportunity to raise the profile of the local league? Could LionsXII leverage (did you notice that? I included some business school speak) on the interest shown in them in their Malaysia days to heighten awareness of the SLeague and bring more people to games? Could a fixture like Geylang International v LionsXII lead to a tasty atmosphere on the terraces which in turn could attract more people to the game?

There are down sides of course. Where would a LionsXII leave Young Lions? 

Apparently a decision could be made next week so I guess we just have to wait and see...

COMMENT - traditionalist old fuddy duddy that I am, I began this piece aiming to destroy the whole the time I git to the fifth paragraph I was in the middle of a literary epiphany!

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