The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) yesterday unveiled a new title sponsor and format change for this year's Singapore Cup, which starts on Sept 25.
Komoco Motors has replaced RHB Bank, the previous backers of the competition since 2005. The new deal is for a year and understood to be a six-figure sum. The automotive company has also been co-title sponsor of the Singapore Premier League since 2017.
Commercial director Ng Choon Wee said it is "proud to support our national pride and talent through the FAS" and "will continue to work closely with FAS to support the community as best as we can".
He added: "With FAS a key governing body of the local football scene that attracts the attention of nationwide fans from the football community, we are confident that the sport will continue to flourish."
FAS president Lim Kia Tong said: "Komoco Motors has a proud and long history and is synonymous with excellence, as seen by the number of premier automobile brands it manages in its stable.
"This makes them a great fit with the Singapore Cup, which is the premier cup competition in local football."
He noted that the Cup, previously a two-legged knockout competition, will this year feature a group-stage format last used in 2003.
The Young Lions, whose players will form the bulk of the Singapore Under-23 team preparing for the year-end SEA Games in Manila, will not be involved, meaning the other eight SPL teams will be split into two groups of four.
The draw was made after the sponsorship signing ceremony at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
Four-time defending champions Albirex Niigata are in Group B with Geylang International, SPL leaders Hougang United and Brunei DPMM. Home United, Tampines Rovers, Warriors FC and Balestier Khalsa are in Group B.
The top two from each group qualify for the semi-finals, which will be played home and away.
Lim said: "Compared to the knockout format, the group stage provides more playing time for all, with an increased number of matches, especially for younger players in the team.
"It will also generate more excitement for the fans, as teams fight to outrank one another to secure a spot in the semi-final."