File photo shows DPMM FC striker Andrei Varankou vying for the ball with a Tampines Rovers player. PHOTO: INFOFOTO
BY Fadhil Yunus
The AIA Singapore Premier League (SPL) for the 2020 season will resume on October 17 after nearly seven months of hiatus due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) received the green light on the resumption after Singapore’s Minister for Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) Edwin Tong made an announcement on the restart date recently.
The announcement came as the COVID-19 swab test results came back negative for all 223 players and match officials. The figure only included the eight SPL clubs who are based in Singapore.
The minister also added that matches will be played behind closed doors while coaches and team officials are required to wear masks in addition to safe management measures.
He wrote on his Facebook page, “203 days- that’s how long it has been since we last witnessed our Singapore Premier League clubs in action. Thankfully, the wait is over. It’s been a long off-season but the players, coaches and match officials are raring to hear the whistle blow once more.” Meanwhile, President of Football Association of Singapore Lim Kia Tong said, “We are pleased with the decision announced by MCCY on SPL resumption.”
“This is an outcome that the FAS and the SPL clubs, along with Sport Singapore and government authorities, have worked tirelessly in recent weeks.”
“The FAS will ensure that COVID-19 safety protocols are strictly adhered to ensure the smooth restart of the league and hope it will pave the way for more local sports leagues and events to resume.”
He said they have provided Brunei-based DPMM FC with an option of having their matches played in Singapore and will wait for a favourable response by today.
The reigning holders have only played one game this season during a 2-0 victory against Tampines Rovers FC at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in early March.
The eight SPL clubs resumed training on June 20 albeit in groups of five and no contact allowed, before they proceeded to full training on August 30.
A restart of the league was on the cards after SPL players and match officials underwent swab testing on October 4. The fixture list has also been released with Tanjong Pagar hosting Balestier Khalsa FC while current leaders Tampines Rovers FC take on Hougang United FC on the restart date.
-- Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin