'Red card' shown twice

It is the second time that JSSL Singapore, which was hit by the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) restrictions last month, has had to move.

Up till two years ago, the football academy conducted training on weekends and some weekday evenings at Victoria Junior College, said its managing director Harvey Davis.

The arrangement had been in place for six years until 2015, when he was informed by the school that the Education Ministry said it could no longer rent out its space to private organisations.

JSSL moved out within four months but its clientele of nearly 1,500 children then dropped to some 700.

About 60 per cent of its students are local, said Mr Davis.

While it had about 1,200 children last year, the number has fallen to about 800 now.

At the Home United Youth Football Academy, JSSL ran its programmes and league matches from 8am to 9pm on weekends and weekday nights

On Dec 6, Mr Davis said JSSL was "called into the building and told (by the operator Asia Sports) that we had to vacate the pitch there and then".

He was told that residents in the area had complained, and the SLA decided to impose restrictions, so he had to go.

JSSL had its last session on Dec 18, he said, adding that it would have been better if it had been given more notice, and a chance to mitigate the situation before moving out.

More than 1,000 students were affected. Relocating and setting up its facilities again cost JSSL some $50,000, said Mr Davis.

This excludes losses from student fees when participation fell.

Seow Bei Yi

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 22, 2017, with the headline ''Red card' shown twice'. Subscribe