Football: Boss insists no axe for S-League

Football: Boss insists no axe for S-League
Lions Football coach Bernd Stange.

SINGAPORE - A top official has denied Singapore's S-League could be scrapped and said it was not true that even national coach Bernd Stange stays away from the poorly attended football competition.

S-League chief executive Lim Chin played down reports of a bust-up between club chairmen and Football Association of Singapore officials at a meeting this week, calling the exchanges "robust debate".

But while he dismissed suggestions in the Straits Times that the 10-team league could be axed, he said the future format of the S-League was under discussion.

"We are exploring options to make the S-League better and on the whole, Singapore football," Lim said in a statement late on Wednesday.

"In discussions, there will always be differences in views and opinions when it comes to issues and ideas, and that makes for a healthy and robust debate," he added.

"We are in the preliminary stages of discussion and exploring possibilities. At this stage, it is too preliminary to go into details what form and shape the S-League will take in future," Lim said.

The Straits Times reported that officials are exploring options for the S-League, including shutting it down and sending teams to compete in regional competitions.

Small crowds and a lack of high quality local players have long put the S-League under pressure, making it hard for chairmen to find sponsors.

The involvement of a Singaporean representative side in the Malaysian Super League has also reportedly irked clubs which regularly lose the use of their top players.

The Straits Times also quoted an unnamed club chairman as saying he had heard that national coach Stange does not attend S-League games.

But Lim said he could "categorically state that Bernd is a regular face at S-League and other local matches".

Singapore has for years struggled to raise interest in the S-League, which competes for attention with popular European competitions like the English Premier League.

The city-state's national side, led by former Iraq and East Germany coach Stange since 2013, currently stand at 162 in the FIFA world rankings.

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