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The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) has announced that players and staff of clubs competing in the Singapore Premier League (SPL) will receive full wages, despite the current situation.

In a statement released by the association, extensive discussions were held by FAS President Lim Kia Tong and General Secretary Yazeen Buhari with the local club chairmen and relevant stakeholders, where viable and sustainable solutions were explored for club players and staff to remain motivated and focused while their safety, well-being and livelihoods were kept at the highest priority.

In addressing the issue, FAS will disburse supplementary subsidy to aid the clubs during this difficult period. 

It is set to work with local SPL clubs to capitalise on this “down-time” by investing resources to assist them to further develop their capabilities, read the statement read.

The resources are believed to help relieve the clubs’ main concern of long-term sustainability, including specific online courses for players, coaches and administrative staff. 

These courses will equip them with the necessary skill sets to be future-ready once the sport is able to resume.

Furthermore, greater focus will also be placed on ensuring that the players not only maintain their current level of fitness but also explore ways of raising them as well.

The association’s president said that the pandemic has caused massive disruption to not just football but every sport globally.

“FAS had taken proactive measures by initiating discussions with the local SPL clubs once it was clear that the situation was becoming direr,” said Lim.

He added: “We have always maintained the view that the job security of our SPL players and club officials was of the utmost importance, which is why we have arrived at a solution, which does not impact their financial earnings at this juncture.”

With the implementation of these capability development initiatives which would go some way towards honing the proficiencies of SPL players, coaches and staff, Lim added, not only FAS ensures that players remain focused on the sport but also prepare them to hit the ground running once football resumes.

On his part, Tampines Rovers FC Chairman Desmond Ong said that he is extremely grateful to FAS and fellow chairmen. 

“This crisis has seen us pull together as a united community and it is heartening to see FAS stepping in and taking the lead to assist us during this critical period,” he said.

Despite unnecessary speculations in recent weeks, Ong believed that they have solutions that will give players and staff a huge amount of comfort amid these challenging times.

As the sporting world struggles to revise wages and furloughing staff during the pandemic, similar concerns arisen to the Singaporean football scene.

Given the indefinite suspension of the league since March 24, this has impacted clubs’ revenues and naturally, wage cut is seen as an obvious option.

However, FAS strongly believes that wage cuts at this juncture would be premature and such an action would only serve to be one that would be short-sighted and reactive, hence the extensive engagements.

The SPL season had kicked off on February 29 with 13 fixtures being played prior to the Singapore government’s directive to suspend all sports activities.

FAS will continue to assess the situation while being in close consultation with the relevant authorities before deciding on the appropriate next steps for the SPL.

The Bruneian | KUALA LUMPUR

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