SINGAPORE - Up to 250 fans will be able to catch each Singapore Premier League (SPL) match live from Saturday (April 10) in a move that marks the return of spectators to the league this season.
The games between Balestier Khalsa and Hougang United FC, Young Lions and Tanjong Pagar United on Saturday will be the first to welcome spectators in the stadiums, followed by Sunday's matches featuring Albirex Niigata and Tampines Rovers, Geylang International FC and Lion City Sailors.
Fans can catch eight SPL games for free from Saturday till April 23 when they produce proof of a negative Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test or Antigen Rapid Test (ART), or certification of having received the full two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.
The PCR test must be taken within the last 14 days from the date of the match, while the ART must be done within 24 hours prior to end of the event. Those who have been inoculated will be admitted only if they received their second dose at least 14 days before the match.
From April 24, up to 250 fans may buy tickets to watch any SPL games without the need for any testing.
This follows the Ministry of Health's announcement last month that pilot spectator sports events approved by Sport Singapore can have up to 750 spectators from April 24 if pre-event testing is implemented, or up to 250 spectators without testing.
The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) said it had worked with the relevant authorities to bring forward the timeline for the return of fans. They have not been able to catch live games since the season finale last December between Tampines and Geylang, which allowed a pilot test of 200 fans.
FAS general secretary Yazeen Buhari said: "We have seen our SPL fans passionately supporting their clubs from various locations outside match venues since the new season kicked off on March 13 and we feel it is only right we work towards welcoming them back to matches sooner than April 24.
"I speak for the SPL clubs and players that the fans' presence will be a welcome boost to the match-day experience. As we understand that some of them may choose to take the PCR test or the ART in order to gain entry, we have waived the cost of match tickets during this period."
Hougang United supporter Alvin Tan said: "It's a huge relief because we have missed the feeling of supporting the boys from the stands. We are looking forward to the re-entry and hope that our presence in the stadium will spur the team to continue their good performances."
SPL fans can also watch matches "live" on Singtel TV, StarHub TV and online via the SPL Facebook page and YouTube channel, as well as the Facebook page of 1 Play Sports.