End the dalliance with the ASL

Singapore's support for the Asean Super League (ASL) project has dimmed following the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) election, with new president Lim Kia Tong keen to make the rejuvenation of the S-League a priority.

And the stance was welcomed by the local fraternity, which has called on the new FAS council to focus on domestic competitions instead of foreign entities like the ASL.

"All the while we have known that it won't work," said Warriors FC club manager Paul Poh, 52.

"The S-League season usually ends in mid-October, and the ASL was scheduled for a September start.

"There won't be enough time to find a team and most local players would still be under contract to S-League clubs. It won't make sense to compete in the ASL."

Geylang International chairman Ben Teng, 43, feels that the ASL would not benefit local football on a large scale.

He said: "With the very limited resources diverted to this team, only a small group of footballers would stand to benefit, while the entire domestic league would be left in doldrums.

"It doesn't give late-bloomer players who are left in the S-League any opportunity to be spotted."

The duo's views were echoed by Tampines Rovers forward Fazrul Nawaz, 32. He believes it is "a good move by the FAS" to focus on the S-League as there are more pressing matters to be addressed.

"There are contract issues, player welfare, more sponsorships and (the need to) bring the crowds back," he said.

"We also need to focus on the young boys. Their parents would want to see stability and playing football professionally as a potential career."

The cool reception to the ASL here mirrors that in the rest of the region.

Last year, Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, the Crown Prince of Johor and Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) president, openly revealed that he did not agree with the concept of the ASL, which has had its launch postponed more than once.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 07, 2017, with the headline 'End the dalliance with the ASL'. Print Edition | Subscribe