The FA of Singapore (FAS) were honoured to welcome FIFA President Gianni Infantino to the Jalan Besar Stadium yesterday, for the official inauguration of the refurbished FAS headquarters that was fully underwritten by the FIFA Forward programme.
In addition to renovation works at FAS headquarters, the programme also reimbursed FAS for the renovation of the Jalan Besar Stadium pitch – that now features the GreenFields Evolution Pro 40 surface that provides greater cushioning and support for players – with costs totaling US$2.53 million (S$3.5 million).
Infantino was delighted at the manifestation of FIFA support for the FAS and pointed to the plethora of opportunities that are open to Singapore to further tap on FIFA support, as it implements its ambitious multistakeholder project, Unleash the Roar!.
“It is wonderful to see FAS bring Singapore’s vibrant football culture to life in the walls and corridors of its refurbished headquarters, and I’m appreciative of the Singapore authorities’ support in providing the FAS a 20-year lease, a key compliance facet of the FIFA Forward programme,” said Infantino.
“The coming together of various stakeholders to drive football forward in Singapore warms my heart, and that united effort is why I believe your Unleash the Roar! Project will also succeed.”
“FIFA’s doors are open to Singapore. I believe our expertise and your ambition can go hand in glove in what is our aligned vision to improve the sport.”
Singapore’s UTR! Project, led by the FAS and Sport Singapore (SportSG), has eight pillars of implementation, including raising interest in youth, the developing of multiple pathways, raising capabilities, and even National Service. It aims to unite Singaporeans through football excellence and provide a platform for aspiring footballers to dream big.
Infantino highlighted three broad areas of FIFA support that Singapore can immediately leverage. Firstly, FAS can rely on FIFA expertise to professionalise the Singapore Premier League and its clubs, relying on the FIFA Forward Fund to support a subvention programme with a club licensing mechanism to further professionalise its clubs.
FAS could also tap on FIFA’s Football for School programme that can aid in creating consistent playing opportunities and closing the gap between the men’s and women’s game, a vision that is aligned with the UTR!’s own drive with regard to schools and the grassroots.
The FIFA Talent Development Report is yet another initiative that can support the revitalisation of systems, structures, and support for football in Singapore.
“The refurbishment of our headquarters and the pitch at Jalan Besar Stadium was delayed due to Covid-19 pandemic, but we are delighted with how the design concepts encapsulated Singapore’s football culture and the values we stand for: passion, inclusiveness, innovation, respect, and transparency,” said FAS President Lim Kia Tong.
The refurbishment works that kicked off on 31 October 2019, were completed on 8 February 2021.
“We are truly appreciative of the support from President Gianni Infantino and his team from FIFA, as well as SportSG Chief Executive Officer Mr. Lim Teck Yin as we moved to make Singapore’s football headquarters truly reflect our vibrant fraternity,” added Mr. Lim.
“And I look forward to further collaboration between all parties as we implement our Unleash the Roar! Project to drive Singapore football forward into the future.”
Said Infantino: “FIFA and I are here to tell you that we’re not just on your side, we are part of your team, and we are proud to be part of your team.
“We are proud to be part of such a great team that especially in these difficult times – during the pandemic – is giving so much hope and so much joy to Singapore.” – www.fas.org.sg