Merlion Cup in danger

Merlion Cup in danger

Media rights company MP & Silva and the Singapore Sports Hub have been in talks for some time now over the staging of the Merlion Cup at the National Stadium.

But The New Paper understands that due to a disagreement over the force majeure clause, among other issues, negotiations have broken down, and the famous Kallang Roar will not be heard if the tournament does make a comeback next year.

The French term force majeure is included in contracts to remove liability for natural and unavoidable catastrophes that interrupt the expected course of events and restrict participants from fulfilling obligations.

It would mean that the organisers would have to bear the third-party costs incurred, which include logistics and security, if the tournament were unable to kick off due to unforeseen circumstances.

Jose Raymond, Singapore Sports Hub's senior director for corporate communications and stakeholder management, said in a statement yesterday: "We are truly surprised and disappointed by this sudden turn of events.

"We have been working very closely with the MP & Silva team over the staging of the Merlion Cup at the Singapore Sports Hub and have been looking forward to the event, which was scheduled to be held in January 2016.

"Apart from extending preferable terms and conditions for hiring the National Stadium, we also met MP&Silva's various requirements during negotiations.

"We do hope that MP & Silva considers organising the Merlion Cup or any other football event at the National Stadium in the near future, for the benefit of football fans in Singapore."

The Merlion Cup quadrangular would have included J.League's Yokohama Marinos, Chinese Super League's Shanghai Shenhua, the Myanmar national team and Singapore.

TNP understands that the teams, which have not been confirmed, were keen to take part, but only if it were held at the 55,000-seater National Stadium.

It is understood MP & Silva still prefer to host the tournament in Singapore and it could be held at the 6,000-capacity Jalan Besar Stadium, with possibly Malaysia joining the line-up if the foreign clubs do not sign up.

Their spokesman told TNP: "Negotiations with the Singapore Sports Hub have been going on for the last six months.

"We had done our best to finalise an agreement as early as possible to give the event the best opportunity to be a success. Unfortunately, negotiations with the Sports Hub have been increasingly challenging.

"At this stage, MP & Silva have explored and exhausted all options to negotiate with the Sports Hub to hold the event at the National Stadium.

"Ultimately, MP & Silva has the fans and Singapore football at heart, and we're still committed to organise the event. We have therefore started exploring other venue options.

"Further details will be announced at an opportune time."

The Merlion Cup, an invitational football tournament, was held annually in Singapore from 1982 to 1986, and also once in 1992. It was last held in 2009 at the old National Stadium, when Singapore were beaten 5-0 by Liverpool.

This article was first published on December 8, 2015.
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