In the past month, the talk was on total revamp of the S-league and to be honest, I am not in favour as this will lead to non-stop revamping everytime something crop up like across the causeway.
After any revamp, we have to give the 'new' league a period of time to test it resilience and that is not likely to be the case as many will demand instant results or else why the cry for revamp.
It will then lead to calls for more revamp and that is why, across the causeway, we see a 'new' league every 1-3 years.
That is clearly no solution.
Still, I have to talk about it as MediaCorp Today editors somehow decided a no idea plan with 3 years limit by PN Baljis is worth space on their papers.
This idea is the worst as it came out from the establishment meaning they endorse it or they can claimed in their defence, they did not put in the sport section so it was not from a sport point of view but an economy point of view.
For that is what it was.
If anything could be done with a 3-year limit and endless cash in that timeline, then FAM will have succeed as they started out their MSL revamp back in 2003 with RM$130 million sponsorship and that is not counting the other sources of money they got from their state government.
But what killed them was the plan have to be a success by 2005 season or it was a failure and it was impossible.
Even S-league own history tell us that setting a timeline so short will only hurt us in the end as back in 1996, our then-S-league CEO only gave us only 4 years to build everything and by 1999 when we were still building the foundation, the funding was reduced sparking a downturn.
If we need to learn how to build support the right way, this article -Where does Stroke City's money come from - from the blog Swiss Ramble is worth a read.
Point 1: There is need to spend money to build anything and the current situation of getting others (meaning private sources) is not going to work as Stroke City would never have the money if they seek other funding outside their owner. So FAS work is not with the private sectors but the government.
(As the club’s latest accounts admit, Stoke City “could not have achieved our recent success without huge investment.” Although Coates only paid £1.7 million to buy a majority stake, this allowed him to invest another £8.3 million directly into the club, giving a total of £10 million spent. Around £3.3 million was used to repay Icelandic loans with the former owners writing-off their other debts. That left the remaining £5 million to fund future working capital requirements or, in plain English, cover losses. Since then, Coates has also had to pay an additional £2 million that was contingent on Stoke reaching the Premier League within three years, so the total “purchase” price effectively amounted to £12 million)
Point 2: be realistic about fans support. Support take time to build and so what if Stroke City are filling their stadium now as they know, if they go down, their support will disappear overnight as they have not build the foundation yet. However, we keep seeing the only way is to go back to past project like the already-failed FAM-FAS Series. This is not the way. We should be building up S-league; not FAM-FAS Series.
(For example, the stadium currently has three open corners, which could each be filled in, adding 2,500 seats at a cost of £3 million apiece. However, they appear to be in no hurry to do this, as it is by no means guaranteed that they would be able to sell all those extra seats, which might compromise the vibrant atmosphere that undoubtedly provides an advantage to the home team.)
Point 3: be realistic about sponsorship contribution as it is impossible to get the level seem in Europe big clubs which people tend to compare with.
(Having said that, when the club spoke about seeking to “maximise the commercial opportunities that come with Premier League status”, I was expecting a little more than staging The Greatest Ever Luncheon for Muhammad Ali (even though the man is a hero of mine) and hosting the start of the Tour of Britain cycle race.)
Point 4: The need for financial support to be long term and by that I mean decades
(Nobody appreciates this dilemma more than Coates himself. He explained, “What we have done is put in money to get us to the Premier League and we are still doing it now to establish the club there.” So far, so good, but he added, “Going forward however it must be our aim to make Stoke City football club self-financing, so that it is not overly reliant on new funds being continually introduced by a benefactor.” In short, the club is aiming for self-sufficiency, but still needs some help for the moment.)
If Stroke City was forced to rely on itself after just 5 years of Coates funding, or even 3 years like some are demanding, then everything the club have done up to now will be wasted.
But if PN Baljis was right about anything, it is a need to have no interference from the likes of him as we will be rebuilding and rebuilding again under the model he is seeking.
And now, we come to the part about the header as quite frankly the current uproar about the league came just as Zaindiun took over the FAS so should I lay everything wrong on his feet.
It will not be right as he is still finding his feet as he has been FAS President for less than a year.
The problem is by the time he find his feet, nearly 1/3 of his FAS term will be over and it is time wasted as our FAS president change every 5 years thus we be going through the same process every term.
It result in waste of time and resources as one of the issue I have was why FAS needed to restart the failed FAM-FAS Series just to see it fail again.
There is no doubt the result of the new President having to show he has the drive, if not new ideas, to run FAS.
But at what cost?
It is resulting as we are seeing a confused state of change as the administrators have to adjust to the new President style.
After all, the last President, Assoc Professor Ho Peng Kee, focus was the S-league but Zaindiun, as he claimed, has bigger fish to fry so we are seeing our S-league CEO and General-Secretary Winston Lee having to work on projects from ASL to bringing CWC to Singapore etc.
I do not want to say if those projects are good or bad here and will be coming out with another Viewpoint on that issue in the next few days but one thing is for certain, all the effort by the last President has now gone down the drain as our new President has other ideas.
This is a real problem as it make no sense for 5 years of work to go down the drain just because we have a new President.
Looked at BPL, they have focus and stability as they have not change their CEO, Richard Scudamore, since 1999 and yet we have 3 presidents in that timeline.
It make no sense as what we need are focus and stability as we are building up S-league and yet we are changing President every term with each one having their own idea (Or having to show they have their own ideas and drives)
It wasted what the previous President have done and we have to start all over again.
After all, can anybody image Singapore economy being able to focus on any project if our Prime Minister is change every 5 years so why is local football being asked to go through that.
Without our FAS President being in charge for at least 3 terms or even longer, S-league will no doubt face constant pressure, through no fault of it, as each President have different ideas and focus and this is not good for a league seeking to build itself.