Football: Lion City Cup could be off

Football: Lion City Cup could be off
Brazilian side Corinthians celebrating their triumph last year.

The youth teams of some of the world's most illustrious football clubs have strutted their stuff in the Lion City Cup over the last three years, after integrated sports marketing agency Red Card Group revived the tournament in 2011.

The likes of Brazil's Flamengo, England's Arsenal, Italy's Juventus and Holland's Ajax Amsterdam have sent their juniors to do battle here and the tournament has been a popular success.

But this year's Under-16 tournament is in jeopardy.

The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) are owners of the Lion City Cup and in response to The New Paper's queries, an FAS spokesman said yesterday: "Red Card (who were commercial rights owners of the Lion City Cup) are in discussions regarding the staging of this year's competition, and will get back to us soon on the status of the event.

"The FAS is naturally keen to have this tournament this year... (and) in the event that Red Card is unable to organise this year's tournament, the FAS will explore the possibility of organising the LCC ourselves.

"If all options are eventually deemed not achievable because of time constraints and other circumstances, then we will, regretfully, have to postpone the tournament by a year."

R Sasikumar, the managing director of Red Card, refuted the suggestion that his company had a role to play in any delay in organising this year's Lion City Cup.

Red Card's three-year deal to organise the tournament ended last year and the former national defender said: "All our plans, including the request for additional funding, have been submitted to Sport Singapore, in conjunction with the FAS. "I'll leave it with Sport Singapore."

TNP understands that Red Card had already lined up the youth teams of five clubs from Europe to participate in this year's edition, which was targeted for next month - the same time as the previous three tournaments.

Sport Singapore (previously known as the Singapore Sports Council) has allocated six-figure sums for each of the last three editions of the tournament.

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But it has not approved Red Card's request for additional funding for this year's event.

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