SINGAPORE: The new S.League season begins this week with star players and a new league format as the management hopes the changes will draw more fans to the matches.
On February 3, the players paraded along Orchard Road painted with their team kits in an attention—grabbing stunt to launch the upcoming S.League season.
And there was a serious message behind it, said S. League’s chief executive officer, Lim Chin.
Mr Lim explained: "This is the first season that we have so many good players and star players from overseas. We hope they will make the S.League even more exciting and competitive and that increases the excitement. In turn, we hope that fans will come, give the S.League a chance and see the good football that S.League has."
Former Japanese international Kazuyuki Toda, signed by the Warriors, hopes to pull in more Japanese fans.
"Many Japanese people living in Singapore I know, but I want to meet many Japanese people," said Toda, who played in the 2002 World Cup finals.
Fans can catch Toda’s team squaring off in Friday’s Charity Shield, against Tampines Rovers which feature another star player, Argentinian Martin Wagner.
The league format has also been tweaked. There will now be a split between the top six and bottom six teams.
One of them will feature the top six sides who will face off in a mini—league to determine the S—League champions. The other mini—league will see the bottom six sides jostling among themselves for final standing.
But not all are convinced that this will work to bring the crowd back to the game. Some fans pointed out that the mainstream crowd will not be interested to attend matches between teams that are fighting for top of the bottom slot.
It is still to be seen if the new measures introduced by the S.League will help to bring the fans back.
The management said it cannot expect instant results and the changes will take time to be effective.
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