SINGAPORE - Local food and beverage giant Yeo's renewed its co-title sponsorship of Singapore's only professional football competition, the S-League, on Saturday. The partnership is now in its 13th year.
As part of its efforts to help grow Singapore football, Yeo's has even expanded its involvement beyond the S-League. It can now boast of its involvement with women's football with its backing of the H-TWO-O Ultimate Women's Dream Team, who kicked off the Women's Premier League (WPL) season at the Jalan Besar Stadium against Warriors FC on Saturday.
In a press release issued by the Football Association of Singapore (FAS), Lim Kia Tong, its vice-president, said: "We are delighted that Yeo's is not only extending its co-title sponsorship of the Great Eastern-Yeo's S-League, but also widening its involvement with Singapore football with the new joint initiatives in women's football and grassroots and youth football - two of our focus areas as we strive to expand the base of these players in Singapore.
"We are thankful to Yeo's for being the S-League's partner for 13 years. Among other things, Yeo's has played a key role in the rising popularity of women's football, both as a participant and spectator sport. This is exemplified in their support for the H-TWO-O Ultimate Women's Dream Team.
"Football is a key sport which has the ability to bond the nation and we look forward to further collaborations with Yeo's and other partners aimed at further raising the standards of Singapore football in all aspects."
May Ngiam, 1st vice-president, YHS (Singapore) Pte Ltd explained why the company - the league's longest running sponsor, remains firmly committed to the sport, noting that "football is a sport that brings a community together; as a home-grown brand, we hope our company can play a part in helping to foster community bonding and the strengthening of social cohesion".
She added: "This year, one area of our development focus will be promoting women's football. The objective is to provide equal opportunities for women to access the game, improve the quality of their skills through avenues such as the H-TWO-O Ultimate Women's Dream Team training programme, and inspire more young girls and women to get involved in this sport. Singapore women's football is still growing, and we believe there is still room for improvement in the area of elite player development."
Nuriah Mohd Noor, captain of the H-TWO-O Ultimate Women's Dream Team, welcomed Yeo's commitment to the women's game, saying: "Yeo's, through H-TWO-O, has been nothing but a wonderful sponsor and partner to the team. With their support, we have been given the opportunity to compete in the Women's Premier League and Women's Challenge Cup.
"The formation of the team has brought girls of all ages and backgrounds to come together and learn from one another through this game we all love."
Julie Teo, FAS' general manager of grassroots & women's football and volunteer management, was also cheered by the sponsorship extension and what it would mean for women's football in Singapore.
She said: "We are very pleased that a well-loved household brand like Yeo's supports women's football. We hope that this initiative by Yeo's will encourage more corporations to see the potential in women's football and give their support."
In addition to women's football, Yeo's will also expand its presence in Singapore football to include youth and grassroots football. A new tournament, the H-TWO-O Ultimate Challenge Cup, will be launched during the March and June school holidays to give school teams - specifically, those that do not progress to the Nationals from the Zonal competitions - more opportunities to play competitive matches.
The H-TWO-O Ultimate Junior Champions League, a competition for primary school students, will also be introduced. There will be three categories, namely Under-8, U-10 and U-12, to provide age-appropriate opportunities for young footballers to gain playing experience.