Revive local football with funding from casino taxes
WHILE well in excess of a billion dollars are collected annually from taxes and levies on the integrated resorts, especially the casinos, the collection has had a net negative effect on sports, especially football.
I understand that the funds for local football clubs come mainly from three sources: the Singapore Sports Council (SSC) and the Football Association of Singapore (FAS), club jackpot machine operations, and club patrons (if any).
Football clubs, like private members' clubs here, have been hard hit since the two casinos opened almost three years ago.
However, while the private clubs still have their membership fees and sinking funds to tap, football clubs do not have other significant sources of revenue besides contributions from the SSC and FAS.
Since last season, the FAS has tried to increase the quantum of its funding to each club, but this has not been sufficient to cover lost jackpot machine revenue.
We read of clubs across the Causeway signing international stars like Daniel Guiza and George Boateng.
In contrast, S-League club Gombak United has announced that they have to withdraw from the next season due to the lack of funds.
With the tax windfall from the casinos, shouldn't funding to the S-League clubs be raised?
The sorry state of Singapore football and our plummeting Fifa world ranking is evident for all to see.
As an ardent Singapore football proponent, I feel that this is an opportunity for the
new Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth to show its mettle and demonstrate its commitment to the sports community.