The Unofficial Hougang United FC Supporters Blog

Friday, March 23, 2012

S-League to review Beep Test

Photo: Great Eastern Yeo's Facebook
SINGAPORE - Five-time S-League top goal-scorer Mirko Grabovac fell victim to it, as did former Tampines Rovers' defender Sead Muratovic.

The S-League's mandatory fitness assessment, the Beep Test, has also claimed the scalps of local talents like Gusta Guzarishah and continues to prevent Tampines cult hero Ahmad Latiff Khamaruddin from turning out for the defending S-League champions this season.

But the 2013 season may see respite for players who struggle with the multi-stage fitness test that aids trainers to measure the maximum oxygen uptake of athletes (VO2 max).

Speaking to Today, S-League chief executive Lim Chin said: "We're looking into why players fail the Beep Test and we've got sports scientists to look at other tests that could be more appropriate for football.

"We may make changes to the current system or use a different test, and the announcement will be made before the end of this season."

But it appears certain that players will continue to have a mandatory fitness test to contend with before they are allowed to play for S-League clubs in the coming years.

"It's very sad that the league has lost quality players to the Beep Test (but) on the other hand, the league has gained a lot from having the rest of the players fitter," said Lim.

"The tempo of the game is quicker, the standard of play has improved and things have got more competitive."

While players, and even national coach Radojko Avramovic, have called for the responsibility for players' fitness to be placed on club coaches, Lim holds a different opinion.

"The league has improved primarily because the fitness levels of players are better since the test was implemented in 2005. In our (Singapore) culture and in the S-League, we have to make it compulsory to ensure that players attain that level of fitness required," he said.

"Our players are professional, but there is still room for improvement. We don't want to leave it to chance."

Home United coach Lee Lim Saeng has also called for more professionalism from local players, with the onus on them to maintain their fitness.

Lee, from Korea, suggested a move to a modified salary system utilised by Korean clubs, where only between 60 and 70 percent of players' monthly wages are secured, with the other 30 to 40 percent dependent on performances in training and matches.

While Lim agrees with the need to find driving forces to improve professionalism, he does not believe in utilising a player's salary as a tool.

The S-League chief executive has already made some amendments to the Beep Test ruling that will bring joy to Tampines and Latiff. A rule change on Feb 22 this year meant that as long as a player has been registered by his club before the closing of the transfer window, he will be allowed to play any time he passes the test.

The S-League transfer window closes tomorrow but Latiff will now not need to wait for it to re-open at the season's halfway mark on June 4 to be allowed to play.

Said Lim: "Any player who wants to play in the league must pass the test -that's a reflection of the professionalism we want to instil in our league."

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