Football: Asian Football Confederation to send experts to help revitalise S-League

AFC general secretary Windsor John with (from left) FAS deputy president Bernard Tan, president Lim Kia Tong and vice-president Edwin Tong. He says AFC will tap its vast network of contacts to find suitable specialists.
AFC general secretary Windsor John with (from left) FAS deputy president Bernard Tan, president Lim Kia Tong and vice-president Edwin Tong. He says AFC will tap its vast network of contacts to find suitable specialists.PHOTO: MARCUS TAN FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

SINGAPORE - The general secretary of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Windsor John has said that the continental governing body will look for suitable experts to study the S-League and provide suggestions on how to revive the struggling competition.

John announced this initiative at a press conference held at the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) at Jalan Besar Stadium on Thursday evening (June 22).

The Malaysian said: "We (the AFC) have responded to Mr Lim's (FAS president Lim Kia Tong) invitation to come over and see how AFC and FAS can work together. We want to ensure that as a member association of the AFC, the FAS receives all the necessary support and assistance to implement initiatives it is mandated to undertake."

Since the new FAS council was elected on April 29 in the association's inaugural democratic polls, the FAS has moved quickly to beef up its governance by introducing more robust checks and balances.

Next on its agenda is to breathe new life into the flagging S-League, which is suffering from poor attendance and low fan interest.

For John, who was appointed by the AFC as its general secretary in 2015, there is no need to rush headlong into the project as there is debate in the community over how the new-look league should take shape.

He explained: "Even before we come to the model (of the revamped S-League), we have to do a proper assessment. We need to send the right people to come over to make an assessment.

"Singapore is unique - it is small and its player base is not big. It's good that the experts can come over to make proposals on which is the right model for Singapore."

Although the experts have not been found yet, John revealed that the AFC will tap on its vast network of contacts to find suitable specialists.

"This is a very important decision," he said of the appointment of the consultants. "And the key is sustainability (of the S-League) with a clear roadmap towards achieving this change."