To get more children to play football and ignite interest in the community, Singapore legend Fandi Ahmad, the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) and Singapore Pools have teamed up to organise Fandi Rules, a 4x4 youth street football competition.
Supported by the People's Association (PA), the tournament will run from May 30 to June 19 for boys and girls in the Under-10 and Under-12 categories.
Special rules set by Fandi will be used to bring back the street rules he grew up playing with. For example, the first team to score five goals wins the match immediately regardless of the amount of time left. This is to encourage teams to play on the front foot instead of sitting back.
Other unique rules include the 1v1, which is awarded to the attacking team should a foul occur in the penalty zone.
Having spent a large part of his childhood playing football in corridors, void decks and basketball courts near his Housing Board flat, Fandi Ahmad knows first-hand the importance of street football and credits it for his successful football career.
He said: "The smoother surface, smaller playing area, and fast pace of street football forced me to work on my ball control, technique and composure from a young age which helped to develop my game.
"I am a firm believer that more children should be playing street football and I cannot wait to see the participants having fun and competing against their peers. Who knows, we may even catch a glimpse of some of Singapore's future footballing legends."
The tournament will be played at selected PA hard courts in the heartlands in all five districts (North, South, East, West and Central) of Singapore.
Each team can consist of a coach and six players in the same age category - players who live in different parts of Singapore can sign up as a team and compete in a district of their choice.
The group stage will comprise four teams who will compete in a single round-robin format, with their final placing to decide which knockout stage they progress to. The first-placed team will play in the Championship, the runner-up in the Cup, second runner-up in the Plate and last-placed team in the Bowl.
Only the top two teams from the Championship will qualify for the Grand Finals, where they will compete with the top two teams from the other districts. The Grand Finals will be held at the Singapore Sports Hub on June 18 and 19.
Organisers said on Wednesday (May 25) that the competition's format and rules are modelled with the objectives of Unleash the Roar! (UTR!) - a national project to qualify the Lions for the 2034 World Cup - and the national football philosophy in mind.
Chin Sau Ho, a UTR! executive committee member and senior director at Singapore Pools, said: "As a firm believer that football is a social leveller that can unite our nation, Singapore Pools is proud to support Fandi Rules under the 'Let Them Play' pillar to give our children more opportunities to enjoy the beautiful game. It is our privilege to partner Singapore football legend Fandi Ahmad, FAS and PA in this project."
FAS' interim technical director Philippe Aw added: "We introduced certain things to create a fun but competitive environment for children to grow their interest in the sport and to teach them key aspects of the game from an early age. For example, there are four knockout stages so that the children will have more game time even if they do not finish top in their groups.
"At the same time, the National Football Philosophy aims for children aged 12 and below to be introduced and be honing their first touch, dribbling, technique, and composure in one-versus-one situations. These four skills are crucial for our possession-based style of play, and it is important for players to have mastered them from an early age so that they will be able to adapt and execute our philosophy later in their careers.
"Given the nature and style of play involved in street football, I believe the participants will have a fun time and will take back a thing or two from the competition."
Interested participants can register at Fandirules' website.