SINGAPORE - Organisers of Singapore's domestic football league have completed an embarrassing U-turn on plans to limit the number of players aged over 30 from competing for clubs in the S.League after several complaints of ageism.
S.League bosses announced earlier this month that the 10 clubs competing in next year's campaign would only be allowed to register five players aged 30 and above with at least three required to be 25 or under in their 22-man squads.
That move bought a wave of criticism from players at the end of their careers, who felt they were being unfairly punished as the S.League pushed to help give more playing opportunities to younger players.
"Following discussions, the S.League and the club chairmen have decided not to implement the new rules. The decision was taken after careful consideration of the appeals made by some affected players," the League said in a statement late on Saturday.
"The S.League's goal is to always improve the standard of football to make it more exciting and competitive. The clubs must also be able to compete at the regional level.
"To achieve these goals, there will be a continued and greater emphasis on performance, a high level of fitness and the ability to play at a high intensity for all players in the S.League."
Players are already required to complete a bleep fitness test in order to compete in the S.League.
The league is one of Asia's weakest with organisers routinely trying new ploys to raise interest in a product which struggles to attract fans despite the country's love for the sport.
Thousands in the small Southeast Asian citystate routinely sit up till early hours to watch their favourite Europe-based stars, while local S.League clubs are only able to attract a couple of hundred to matches.