Singapore-Syria match on, FAS to monitor events

As of now, Singapore's World Cup/Asian Cup Group E qualifying match against Syria on Tuesday will go on as planned. But The New Paper understands that the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) is closely monitoring events and is in consultation with the police as to whether any changes need to be made.

Tuesday's football match has extra significance after Friday's coordinated gun attacks and suicide bombings in Paris left nearly 130 dead and more than 180 wounded.

In response to queries, an FAS spokesman said: "We are saddened to hear of the tragedy and our thoughts and prayers are with the people of France.

"The safety and well-being of our fans, players, officials and volunteers are of utmost importance to the FAS.

"As part of our standard operating procedures, the FAS will be working closely with the authorities, Singapore Sports Hub and all relevant stakeholders to take the necessary precautions and enhance security measures for the match.

"We will continue to closely monitor the situation and seek the support and understanding of the public in this matter."

During Friday's tragic events, French police reportedly found a Syrian passport on one of the bombers who had targeted the high-profile international friendly between France and Germany at the Stade de France.

At the Bataclan concert venue, meanwhile, where American band Eagles of Death Metal were performing, a gunman reportedly told captives: "It's the fault of (Francois) Hollande, it's the fault of your president, he should not have intervened in Syria."

Almost 34,000 fans turned up to watch Singapore's qualifying match at the National Stadium on Thursday, a 3-0 defeat by Asian powerhouses Japan.

PARTIAL CLOSURE

The New Paper understands that, unlike the Japan match which saw all sections of the 55,000-capacity facility opened, several sectors of the National Stadium will be closed for the Syria game.

The arrangement will be similar to last month's qualifiers against Afghanistan and Cambodia, which drew 7,128 and 9,417, respectively.

The FAS was not able to respond to follow-up queries about whether it would beef up numbers of security personnel or conduct a bomb sweep of the stadium.

But in certain matches at the Jalan Besar Stadium attended by VIPs in the past, security personnel were seen conducting bomb sweeps of the seats before gates opened and fans were allowed in.


This article was first published on Nov 15, 2015.
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