SINGAPORE - From screening parties to live performances to futsal competitions, football fans in Singapore are in for a bumper crop of activities as the Festival of Football is held for the first time from June 14 to July 30.
This year's event will capitalise on the World Cup Finals in Russia (June 14-July 15) and the International Champions Cup (ICC), a pre-season tournament featuring Arsenal, Atletico Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain at the National Stadium from July 26 to 30.
The line-up of activities was announced on Thursday afternoon (May 31) at the Singapore Sports Hub's Visitors' Centre.
Lim Teck Yin, CEO of national sports agency Sport Singapore, said: "We want to drum up the excitement and bring all football enthusiasts together. This is an invitation to anyone who is interested to make the local football ecosystem great."
The festival, to be held at the Sports Hub's OCBC Square, will be a big football party with a giant 66 sq m LED screen showing World Cup matches live. Most group games and all matches from the knockout stage will be screened.
There will also be live broadcasts of ICC games played in the United States and Singapore Premier League (SPL) matches. Admission is free.
Singapore Sports Hub CEO Oon Jin Teik is counting on the event to be a roaring success.
He said: "I hope this will be the mother of all football events.
"We had analysed consumers in Singapore and they don't want events in a traditional silo. We have to combine sports with entertainment, lifestyle, concerts and food to keep tastes and interests alive."
Apart from the World Cup screenings, live performances from music acts will keep the fans entertained while food and beverage stalls will serve up tasty treats.
Players from SPL clubs Home United and the Young Lions will meet and greet fans, while two SPL games will be played at the National Stadium during the festival period (June 23: Young Lions v Home and June 24: Hougang United v DPMM).
Other activities in store are a four-a-side competition, a penalty shoot-out contest and pool football, where participants use their legs to kick footballs into pockets of a life-sized pool table.
History buffs can also look forward to storytelling sessions, a football trail and an exhibition of World Cup match balls at the Singapore Sports Museum.
Last year, fans enjoyed such fun-filled activities on a smaller scale at the Singapore Football Week during the ICC.