SINGAPORE - The Republic's various national teams have endured a dreary year, with poor results across the board giving football fans here little to shout about.
On Sunday (Nov 12), the sport was thrust into the limelight, again for all the wrong reasons.
The brawl between National Football League Division 1 sides Singapore Armed Forces Sports Association (Safsa) and Yishun Sentek Mariners at the Jalan Besar Stadium saw police officers called to pitch side before the match ended.
The police have confirmed their involvement, saying in a statement that: "On 12 Nov 2017, at 9.24pm, the police received a call for assistance at the Jalan Besar Stadium. Police investigations are ongoing."
It is understood that at press time, no arrests have been made.
Sources revealed that the police kept both teams at the stadium past midnight, taking statements from parties involved.
The incident that sparked the brawl involved Yishun's Zulfadhli Suzliman and Safsa's Al Nazirul Islam, with the latter being sent to hospital for treatment sporting stud marks to his abdomen.
It is believed that Zulfadhli's brother Zulkifli was also involved.
Zulfadhli received his marching orders, along with Nazirul after the match resumed following a stoppage of some 15 minutes.
Videos revealed that players from Yishun's bench also got involved in the fracas that saw Safsa coach Kevin Wee kicked, with a Yishun official also getting involved near the tunnel leading to the dressing rooms.
Sources revealed that the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) is poised to fast track disciplinary hearings to facilitate the conclusion of the NFL season.
The FAS did not comment further on the issue because of ongoing investigations.
The top-of-the-table clash was won by Safsa, whose 3-2 win means they now have 53 points from 20 games. Yishun, who are on 51 points, have one game in hand and three matches to close the gap in the 12-team competition.
While Yishun official Yakob Hashim had said that Zulfadhli had retaliated to taunts received from Nazirul, Safsa officials and players contacted yesterday declined to make any comments to the media.
This was the second major NFL incident in just over a year.
On Oct 1 last year, the Singapore FA Cup first-round match at the Gombak Stadium between Safsa and Balestier United Recreation Club was halted by the referee in the 88th minute when a fight broke out with Safsa leading 2-1. The match was later abandoned.
Balestier were banned from participating in the FA Cup for two years and fined $1,000. Five of their players were sanctioned, each receiving bans of various lengths with the longest ending on Dec 31, 2017. Three players were also fined $500 each.
One Safsa player was given a conditional warning until the end of this year but the club were not sanctioned.
However, the worst brawl in the recent history of local football was the 2010 incident between S-League sides Beijing Guoan Talent and the Young Lions.
Both clubs were docked five points and fined $5,000 each.
The match that was abandoned by referee Zaid Hussein in the 89th minute, saw a total of 16 players receiving bans ranging from four months to a year; and fines between $1,000 and $3,000.