Kallang roar back with up to 10k fans

But strict safety measures will be in play as FAS says fans' health takes 'utmost priority'

Just over a week from the tournament's first game, the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) yesterday announced ticket details for the AFF Suzuki Cup.

In a media statement, it said that tickets for each match day, priced at $25 for adults and $15 for children aged 12 and under, would go on sale from noon today (see box on right).

Singapore will kick off the biennial 10-team tournament against Myanmar at the National Stadium next Sunday.

While the announcement omitted the number of spectators allowed to attend the games, the FAS later said in response to queries that 10,000 fans will be allowed for each match day at the 55,000-capacity National Stadium. At the 6,000-capacity Bishan Stadium, 1,000 will be admitted for each match day.

Each match day features two games, both either from Group A or B. The National Stadium will host all but one game from Group A - in which Singapore are drawn - while Bishan will serve as the main venue for Group B matches.

Noting that the permitted number of fans per match is less than a fifth of each stadium's capacity, an FAS spokesman said this "ensures that fans are adequately spaced out with one-metre safe distancing between groups at all times, in line with prevailing safe management measures".

Away fans have been allocated about 20 per cent of the spectator capacity for Singapore match days at the National Stadium, the spokesman added.

In its media statement, the FAS said that only those who are fully vaccinated will be allowed into games, and refunds would not be issued to those who fail to provide proof of vaccination and are denied entry.

Safe management measures will be enforced strictly through seating plans and allocation. Fans at the National Stadium will sit in pairs while those at Bishan will sit singly, with one-metre safe distancing.

At the National Stadium, fans will be assigned to sectors with no more than 500 people each, with no mingling allowed across sectors. This will be enforced through the use of coloured wrist tags for each spectator, which will also serve as identification that allows re-entry into the stadium for that match day.

Ticket sales on the first three days are exclusively for Singapore fans. The FAS had opened pre-registration for ticket purchases to Singapore fans on Nov 18 - it received over 6,000 applications - and those who indicated their interest received a link yesterday to purchase their tickets.

FAS general secretary Yazeen Buhari acknowledged that the process of announcing details had taken "longer than usual".

Thanking the fans for their patience, he explained: "Fans' health and safety continues to be our utmost priority, especially in today's circumstances, and we are confident that the security protocols and safe management measures that will be put in place will ensure a safe and enjoyable match-day experience for all."

However, yesterday's announcement left some fans upset. Supporters' group SingaBrigade announced in a Facebook post that they would not attend the Lions' games as a group, citing unhappiness over not being allowed to bring drums to the matches. They also felt the price of tickets was too high.

SingaBrigade are the main national team supporters' group. In pre-pandemic times, they were a visible presence as they often unfurled a giant Singapore flag while the National Anthem was sung ahead of home games.

"We are not walking away from Singapore football but would like to send a message to them not to take football fans lightly," the group wrote, without identifying the target of their message other than stating "relevant parties".

In any case, Singapore fans unable to attend games in person are likely to be able to catch a live telecast. The Sunday Times understands that Mediacorp has reached an agreement with Suzuki Cup rights holder Sportfive to broadcast the Lions' games. It could also broadcast games involving other teams on its digital platform MeWatch.

A Mediacorp spokesman indicated that it would only be able to provide more details later.

Four-time regional champions Singapore are in Group A with Myanmar, five-time winners Thailand, the Philippines and Timor Leste.

Group B comprises defending champions Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia and Laos.

The top two teams from each group will qualify for the two-legged semi-finals before a two-legged final, with the champions of Asean crowned on Jan 1.

The final four games will be played at the National Stadium.

DEC 5-JAN 1 SUZUKI CUP TICKET DETAILS

WHEN

• National Stadium (Group A): From noon for Singapore fans. From Wednesday for the public including non-Singaporeans

• Bishan Stadium (Group B): From Wednesday for the public

PRICE

$25 for adults per match day, $15 for children aged 12 and under per match day

WHERE

www.fas.org.sg/tickets

DISCOUNT

20 per cent off for S'pore fans purchasing a bundle (all four S'pore group-stage matches)

NOTE

Only fully vaccinated fans are allowed in. No refunds for those who fail to provide proof of vaccination and are turned away

Join ST's Telegram channel here and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 28, 2021, with the headline Kallang roar back with up to 10k fans. Subscribe