The Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) is fully supportive of the planned revamp laid out by the new Football Association of Singapore (FAS) council to revive the sport.
In yesterday's debate on the ministry's budget, MCCY Parliamentary Secretary Baey Yam Keng said: "To raise the standard of play amongst the national teams, the FAS has announced a revamp of the S-League to address four key areas - Youth development, capability development, cost efficiency and building a vibrant football culture.
"Specifically, the FAS has updated S-League match rules to provide younger players with more match exposure. It has taken steps to raise player professionalism, such as cracking down on smoking and placing more emphasis on fitness.
"We note that the football fraternity has responded positively to the plan of FAS. We expect the FAS leadership to continue engaging and working closely with clubs, stakeholders and fans. We look forward to improvements in the standard of Singapore football and the performance of our national teams. The new S-League season kicks-off at the National Stadium on March 31 and we wish them all the best."
Mr Baey made the comments in response to queries from Nominated MP Ganesh Rajaram and Mr Faisal Manap (Aljunied GRC) on the state of the local game.
Singapore is currently ranked 173rd out of 206 member nations affiliated to football's world governing body Fifa and the national team, under coach V. Sundram Moorthy, has not won since a 1-0 friendly victory over Cambodia in November 2016.
To nurture future generations of footballers, local S-League teams must start every game with three Under-23 players from this season. Last month, the FAS also announced tough measures to combat smoking.
"We are supportive of their (FAS') focus on the youth because our regional Games' - the SEA Games and Asian Games - focus is on the Under-23s," said Mr Baey. "We believe that (the youth development plan) will bode well for Singapore football in the long term because that will create a very strong pipeline for the senior team and, hopefully, our ranking will rise, but that will take time.
"We will work closely and scrutinise FAS closely to make sure the (key performance indicators) are met."
Wang Meng Meng