Football in Singapore
Flag of Singapore.svg
Football pictogram.svg
Football In Singapore
1st game
United Kingdom British Engineers XI A vs British Engineers XI B United Kingdom[1]
(1889)
Governing bodyFootball Association of Singapore
Top leagues (National Leagues)Singapore Premier League
FAS National Football League
FAS Island Wide League
FAS Women's Premier League
FAS Women's National Football League
National CupSingapore Cup
FA CupSingapore FA Cup
Season starterSingapore Community Shield
International
1st international
Singapore Singapore 2–3 South Korea 
(Singapore; 12 April 1953)
Men's teamSingapore
Women's teamSingapore ♀
Boys' team (youth)Singapore U15s & 16s
StadiumNational Stadium
(Capacity: 55,000)
Jalan Besar Stadium
(Capacity: 6,000–8,000)
International honours
Youth Olympics Bronze (1) – 2010 (boys' U16)
AFF Championship Gold (4) – 1998, 2004, 2007, 2012 (men's)
AFC Women's Cup Bronze (2) – 1977, 1983 (women's)
Lion City Cup Silver (1) – 2011 (boys' U16)
 Bronze (1) – 2011 (boys' u15)

Association football, known more popularly as football, is considered the national sport of Singapore.[2] The country is home to the Football Association of Singapore (FAS), the oldest football association in Asia with its roots coming from The Football Association in England. The national teams include the men's, women's and youth. Despite the country having a relatively small population pool, it has generally punched above its weight by successively producing squads that has fiercely competed with much larger and more populated countries in both club and international football.

The sport reached one of its highest peaks during the 1980s and 1990s with the Singapore Lions' participation in the Malaysia Cup, whereby they dominated the competition. The Singapore Lions, the team which played in the Malaysia Cup, is not considered as a national team. The Singapore Lions left the Malaysia Cup in 1994, before rejoining the competition in 2012 as the LionsXII until 2015, winning a league title in 2013 and an FA Cup in 2015 in the process.[3]

The men's senior team is one of the strongest national sides in Southeast Asia, being the second most successful team in the AFF Championship with 4 titles, winning in 1998, 2004, 2007 and 2012. It is also one of the only two national teams in history to have won consecutive titles in the competition. The current champions of Singaporean club football is Lion City Sailors, having won the Singapore Premier League title in the 2021 season.[4]

History

The first football match in Singapore were between two teams of British engineers in 1889. The Singapore Amateur Football Association (SAFA), under its current name Football Association of Singapore (FAS), was formed in 1892 by a group of British in colonial Singapore.

League system

Tier National Leagues
1 Singapore Premier League[5][6]
2 (provisionally) Singapore Football League Division 1[7]
3 (provisionally) Singapore Football League Division 2[8]
4 (provisionally) Singapore Island Wide League[9]
Expatriate Leagues
Cosmopolitan Football League[10]
Equatorial Football League[11]
Tier Women's Football Leagues
1 Women’s Premier League
7 clubs
2 Women's National Football League
10 clubs
Tier Youth's Football Leagues
1 Centre of Excellence U19 Developmental League
2 Centre of Excellence U16 Developmental League Tier 1
3 Centre of Excellence U16 Developmental League Tier 2

Professional league

The Singapore Premier League is a professional league for men's football clubs in Singapore, governed by the Football Association of Singapore. The semi-professional FAS Premier League was replaced by the professional S.League in 1996 when Singapore FA left the Malaysia Cup in 1994, due to disputes with the Football Association of Malaysia.[12] The league adopted its current name in 2018.

Although the SPL is the highest level of domestic football competition in Singapore, it fails to attract supporters, with the dwindling attendees to matches and television view ratings.[13] The FAS has invited foreign clubs to participate in the league, in attempt to increase competitiveness and attract more fans. There is no promotion and relegation in the current Singapore football league system. The reserves team of the SPL clubs compete in the Prime League formed in 1997.

Since its inception in 1996, seven clubs have been crowned champions. Geylang United claim the first league title. Warriors FC hold the most with nine. In 2010, Étoile FC became the first foreign side to win the competition.[14]

Singapore Football League

Main article: Singapore Football League

The Singapore Football League, or more commonly known as the SFL is a semi-professional competition organised for football clubs which are affiliated with the Football Association of Singapore. FAS which was previously known as the Singapore Amateur Football Association, SAFA. It was the premier football league of Singapore until the FAS premier league was formed in 1988. The history of NFL can be traced back to as early as the early 20th century.

Women's Premier League

Main article: Women's Premier League (Singapore)

The Women's Premier League is an amateur league for women's football clubs in Singapore, governed by the FAS.

Goal 2010

Goal 2010 was an objective, set by then-Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong in 1998, for the Singapore national team to reach the 2010 FIFA World Cup finals in South Africa.[15] However, the goal was not met.

"Look at the French World Cup football team. In the final against Brazil, I picked Zidane as the most outstanding French player. He is of Algerian descent. Of the 22-players, more than half did not look "French". They looked Argentinian, Armenian, Basque, Caribbean, Ghanaian, New Caledonian. Some were born in France, but of immigrant parents. Others are first generation French citizens. When they went up to receive their medals, President Chirac embraced all of them as Frenchmen. He sent a strong political signal for multi-racialism and against xenophobia: that in France, so long as you contribute to the French cause, it does not matter what colour your skin is or where you were born. Last year I told you Singapore would never have a chance in the World Cup, because the rules require all players to be citizens. But after watching the French victory, I have changed my mind. Maybe if we change our immigration criteria to bring in top football talent and make them citizens, then one day we too can get into the finals. In fact we intend to do just this, to bring in sports talent."[16]

— Goh Chok Tong, National Day Rally 1998 Speech, commenting further on GOAL 2010

Malaysia Cup

Main article: Malaysia Cup

Joining the Malaysia Cup in 1921, known as the Malaya Cup at that time, Singapore were the champions of the inaugural competition. They would further succeed in getting 24 titles for themselves during their time in the competition from 1921 to 1994, a span of 74 years.

In this competition, and the Malaysia league, Singapore submitted a representative team, which operated like a football club more than a national football team. It was called the Singapore FA in the country's 74 years in Malaysian football. The competition helped bring the likes of Fandi Ahmad and Dollah Kassim, with the former being the only Singaporean to have played for European clubs – he played for FC Groningen and OFI Crete.

National teams

Main articles: Singapore national football team, Singapore women's national football team, and Singapore national youth football team

The Football Association of Singapore organises the men's, women's and youth national football teams. The men's senior team is the second most successful team in the AFF Championship with 4 titles, winning in 1998, 2004, 2007 and 2012. The youth team claim bronze in the football event of the inaugural Youth Olympic Games, and runners-up and second runners-up for the 23rd Lion City Cup.

Stadium

Main articles: National Stadium, Singapore and Jalan Besar Stadium

The former National Stadium was the home of the Singapore national team. The team moved to Jalan Besar Stadium after the former ground was demolished in 2011 for the multi-purpose sports complex Singapore Sports Hub. After its completion in 2014, the team concurrently uses both the new National Stadium and Jalan Besar Stadium as their home grounds.[17]

See also

References

  1. ^ History of Singapore Football Archived 26 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Fas.org.sg. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
  2. ^ "National Day Special 2016: In search of Singapore's national sport". TODAYonline.
  3. ^ Singapore is Back!. Voxsports.net (12 July 2011). Retrieved 15 August 2011.
  4. ^ "Lion City Sailors FC are 2021 AIA Singapore Premier League champions". CNA. Retrieved 8 April 2021.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. ^ "Football: Goodbye S-League, welcome Singapore Premier League". The Straits Times. 21 March 2018. Retrieved 25 January 2019.
  6. ^ "Singapore League (S. League) - Infopedia". Eresources.nlb.gov.sg. Retrieved 25 January 2019.
  7. ^ "Singapore Football League Division 1 – Football Association of Singapore". Fas.org.sg. Retrieved 28 June 2022.
  8. ^ "Singapore Football League Division 2 – Football Association of Singapore". Fas.org.sg. Retrieved 28 June 2022.
  9. ^ "Island Wide League - Football Association of Singapore". Fas.org.sg. Retrieved 25 January 2019.
  10. ^ "CosmoLeague". www.cosmoleague.com.
  11. ^ https://www.gamedayapp.co/tournaments/equatorial-football-league
  12. ^ About Archived 1 February 2018 at the Wayback Machine. S.League (17 December 1994). Retrieved 15 August 2011.
  13. ^ S.League Must Improve. Asiaone.com (25 May 2011). Retrieved 15 August 2011.
  14. ^ "S.League overview". S.League. Archived from the original on 22 August 2013. Retrieved 6 March 2014.
  15. ^ "Singapore launches national project to rebuild football foundation for future success". sg.news.yahoo.com. Retrieved 17 November 2021.
  16. ^ Prime Minister's National Day Rally Speech, 1998. National Archives of Singapore. Retrieved 2017-08-17.
  17. ^ Singapore Sports Hub to open by April 2014. Asiaone.com (27 August 2010). Retrieved 15 August 2011.