Singapore’s S-League considers shake-up

ONE of the most unusual football leagues on the planet is considering falling in line and barring foreign teams from its ranks.
The S-League, Singapore’s premier league competition, has had nine non-Singaporean teams take part since it began in 1996.
As well as satellite squads for clubs in China and Japan (Albirex Niigata Singapore FC, Beijing Guoan Talent Singapore FC, Dalian Shide Siwu FC and Liaoning Guangyuan FC), there has been a club from Brunei (Brunei DPMM FC), and sides made up exclusively of Frenchmen (Etoile FC), Chinese players (Sinchi FC), Africans (Sporting Afrique FC), South Koreans (Yishun Super Reds FC) and Singaporean under 23’s (Young Lions).
Teams from Europe, Africa and Asia have already expressed an interest in joining the S-League next season, but the presence of overseas teams in the city state’s domestic competition is polarising opinion.
Singapore’s soccer chiefs have pulled out of next year’s Asian Champions League rather than be forced to boot foreign teams out of their S-League – but not everyone thinks it was the right decision.
Former Singapore international Malek Awab said: “We need a bigger pool of local players for our national team, so foreign sides are not going to help Singapore football.
“I’m very sad with the current state of football here now.”
And former Woodlands Wellington and Tampines Rovers official R.Vengadasalam said: “Take the Chinese sides – they have been nothing but trouble.”

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