Improve standard of S-League to draw fans

There have been some radical suggestions to overhaul the S-League, such as marketing campaigns by Singapore companies to co-brand themselves with domestic clubs ("Local brands can boost football" by Mr Woon Wee Min; Dec 23) and introducing a World Business Football League ("Some creativity needed to revive local football" by Mr Patrick Tan Siong Kuan; Dec 17).

Both proposals are innovative, but neither will bring back the fans, raise interest in the domestic league and fill stadiums.

The solution lies in going back to basics and drastically improving the standard of the S-League.

Singaporeans will pay for good entertainment.

This is why they support the most successful clubs in the English Premier League (EPL), which offer good entertainment value.

The Football Association of Singapore must realise that the S-League cannot compete with EPL telecasts, so it is foolhardy to hold our domestic games on Saturday or Sunday evenings.

Matches should be switched to Friday nights so spectators can go to matches to unwind at the end of the work week. This leaves the weekends free for them to also support their favourite English clubs.

Even though we cannot compete with the more illustrious leagues in Europe, the way to revive interest in our own competition is to raise the level of play significantly.

The poor technical skills of many S-League footballers now bore spectators.

In order to attract better-quality players from overseas and convince more locals that a career in football is feasible, a huge injection of funds is needed from corporate sponsors.

Singapore's small geographical size means that fans feel little connection with teams in their own constituencies.

However, if S-League clubs become more involved in spotting and nurturing talent from neighbourhood schools, affinity with their teams can only get stronger.

If more clubs start their own youth development programmes, more and better-quality talent will be unearthed. Families and friends of these players can also better identify with their local clubs as a result.

There is no quick fix for the S-League but the solution lies in returning to fundamental principles.

Edmund Khoo Kim Hock