Tampines Rovers pocketed S$150,000 when they won last
year's S-League. Next year's champions could bring home
S$250,000 if the S-League chief's plan is approved.Photo: TODAY
SINGAPORE - Clubs in the Great Eastern-Yeo's S-League are set for a cash boost in the form of subsidies to lure marquee names to Singapore next year.
If S-League Chief Executive Lim Chin and his team have their way, more money could also be thrown into the prize pot for the club that wins the league.
If approved, the monetary reward for the 2013 S-League champions will jump, from the current S$150,000 to S$250,000. The cheque for the winners of the RHB Singapore Cup will also grow from S$80,000 to S$100,000.
It is not clear if the teams that finish behind the winners will also see a corresponding increase in winnings. Currently, the runners-up in the S-League take home S$80,000 while third place fetches a S$40,000 reward.
"All the changes we are trying to implement are designed to make the league more competitive, while injecting excitement and interest that we hope will boost attendances," said Lim who declined to elaborate further. "That goes for the increase in prize money, change in league format, as well as marquee player initiative."
The proposed increase will see the S-League start to catch up with the other regional leagues that have stronger financial clout.
This season, the LionsXII finished second, one place shy of snagging the top prize of RM750,000 (S$300,000) in the Malaysian Super League.
The Thai Premier League reportedly paying 10 million Baht (S$400,000) to its champions, while Vietnam's V-League champions take home US$150,000 (S$184,000).
Regional leagues still pale in comparison - in monetary terms - to the top leagues in the world. Chelsea bagged £16 million (S$31.5 million) when they were crowned 2009-2010 English Premier League champions.
But Shasi Kumar, a former player and coach in the S-League, believes any money lured into football will be good for the game here.
"A S$100,000 increase is a massive jump, it is a big amount of money that can make a big difference," he said. "While money should not be the only motivation for professional footballers, the promise of a bigger prize will definitely motivate players and clubs."
The former Woodlands Wellington coach added that while clubs are entitled to the winnings, the majority of any prize money should filter down to the players.
The increased prize money is one of several changes mooted by Lim and his team to inject life into an S-League that has seen crowd figures fall to an all-time low of 932 at the halfway mark of the 2012 season.
Next year will have a new league format, new-look mandatory fitness test, as well as an influx of star quality with marquee players being lured to the Lion City.
Said Lim: "We are still waiting for formal approval for a few of our initiatives and we will make formal announcements when we get it." (SOURCE)