No new football club for SPL 2024-25 season, Latest Singapore Football News - The New Paper
Singapore Football

No new football club for SPL 2024-25 season

Football fans will have to wait for at least another season to welcome a 10th football club to the Singapore Premier League (SPL).

Ahead of the 2024-25 season, talk among the fraternity was that a new side, Tengah FC, were set to join the league, particularly after they announced on social media in February that the team had received in-principle approval from the Football Association of Singapore (FAS).

However, in a media statement on April 3, the FAS said it has finished evaluating potential clubs for the coming SPL season and while one club were given in-principle approval to participate in the upcoming campaign, the shortlisted club were entered into a “a due diligence process, which took longer than expected”.

It added: “Given the tight deadline prior to the commencement of the SPL in May 2024, the club have decided not to contest the 2024-25 season. Instead, it will focus on getting a team ready for the 2025-26 season.”

Tengah FC chairman Louis Amalorpavanathan told The Straits Times that it was a “difficult decision to take”.

He added: “The process... took longer than expected. It’s been a while since a new club were admitted into the SPL so I think both us and the FAS learnt a lot from the exercise.

“But rather than rush to kick off only a month away, we felt it would be the more responsible thing to do to compete in 2025-26.”

The 2024-25 season will kick off on May 4 with the Community Shield match, followed by the league a week later and concluding in May 2025.

The FAS also said that it remains committed to improving the SPL and will continue to explore opportunities to enhance Singapore’s top domestic football competition.

Last December, the football governing body put up a request for clubs to submit their proposals to be the 10th team in the SPL – a first for the league since 2015.

Four proposals were submitted, with Tengah FC the only side to have advanced talks with the FAS.

But to gain the full unconditional approval, the club need to meet certain stringent prerequisites, which include fulfilling Asian Football Confederation club licensing requirements, fielding a competitive team and, crucially, ensuring that they are able to cover all costs for the season, including players’ and officials’ salaries. The club may also need to provide financial guarantees, especially as a new joiner will not receive subsidies.