LionsXII salaries must be fair to S-league players

I was disappointed to read that the LionsXII players will get the same salary when they join S-League teams next year ("LionsXII on same salary next year"; last Friday).

I understand that the average salary of an S-League player is $3,500, while the LionsXII can earn upwards of $6,000.

This could be due to financial restrictions the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) places on S-League teams.

So, if the FAS wants to ensure LionsXII players are paid the same salary, it should remove the salary cap on current S-League players.

There could be morale problems in the team if a better player is paid less than a teammate who was in the LionsXII.

What happens beyond next year? Will the players still get the same salary if no S-League team signs them on?

Perhaps the FAS wants to keep the current team for the expected new Asean Super League (ASL) in 2017.

However, this is not the right approach.

Would it not be better to keep the LionsXII as a team rather than break them up to the various S-League clubs? Is the FAS going to bring in new players in preparation for the ASL?

Will these new players be paid S-League pay or LionsXII pay?

I suggest that the FAS pay the LionsXII a lump sum and let them seek places in the S-League on their own.

This is akin to a retrenchment benefit in the commercial world.

The money to top up the LionsXII players' salaries could be better spent on improving the S-League instead.

Leong Kok Seng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 03, 2015, with the headline 'LionsXII salaries must be fair to S-league players'. Print Edition | Subscribe