Football fans in Singapore will get to watch all 51 matches of the Uefa Euro 2016 for free islandwide, announced the People's Association (PA) yesterday.
A total of 26 community clubs (CC) will show the matches live, beginning on June 11, when hosts France play Romania in the opener of the month-long tournament.
Kick-off times for the group phase are 9pm, 12midnight and 3am (Singapore time) and will feature stars such as Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo, Sweden's Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Gareth Bale of Wales.
PA's chief executive director Ang Hak Seng said the decision to offer free screening was due to good turnouts when it previously showed World Cup and English Premier League matches. The 2014 World Cup drew 570,000 residents to 58 CCs to watch the matches.
He added: "Many residents enjoyed the atmosphere while cheering for their favourite teams.
The following 26 community clubs will be holding live match screenings for the Euro 2016 tournament: Bishan, Bukit Batok, Buona Vista, Chong Pang, Clementi, Ci Yuan, Eunos, Jurong Central, Jurong Spring, Kampong Glam, Potong Pasir, Sengkang, Tampines West, Toa Payoh Central, Whampoa, Yew Tee, Yuhua, Yio Chu Kang, Choa Chu Kang, Ulu Pandan, Braddell Heights, Fengshan, Gek Poh, Canberra, Serangoon and Ayer Rajah.
"We are happy to offer another occasion for neighbours to enjoy football fever together with their friends, and hopefully make some new ones in the process."
Sales executive Thomas Yeo, 36, welcomed the announcement, as he felt subscription packages offered by Singtel and StarHub (both are charging one-off fees of $88) were steep.
He said: "The prices are too expensive, and this is definitely a good initiative for those who have difficulty affording it (the subscription charges) but love to watch football. I might go down, especially for the bigger matches."
Other like construction firm director Murali Nair, 47, felt that the lively crowds expected at the CCs would make it attractive for fans.
He said: "The atmosphere would probably be good. I think there will be a lot of people and if possible I might grab a couple of friends to watch some games with me at the CC. My boys are in their teens as well, and perhaps I will bring them on the weekdays when there is no school as the matches are likely to be past their bedtime."
The PA strongly encourages residents to contact the CCs directly for the latest match screening schedules. More screening details can be found on its website at pa.gov.sg
Correction note: An earlier version of the story stated that kick-off times for the group phase are 10pm, 1am and 4am (Singapore time) instead of 9pm, 12midnight and 3am. This has been corrected.