Football: club licensing system part of plans to develop local women’s football

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SINGAPORE — For years, women’s football club Still Aerion struggled with the problem of not having a regular training ground.

This meant that players traveled anywhere from Boon Lay to Tampines for training – depending on which pitches they could book through Sport Singapore’s (SportSG) dual-use scheme.

But this uncertainty about their place of training has also impacted the attendance of players, who are students and working professionals.

But the club have enjoyed more certainty in recent months and have been training at Bukit Gombak Stadium, thanks to support from national agency SportSG, which runs the Unleash The Roar! project with the Football Association of Singapore (FAS).

President Pamela Kong hopes things will change for the better as FAS announced at the Women’s Football Conference 2022 in Singapore on Saturday March 5 its plans to introduce a club licensing system for women’s amateur clubs.

She said: “It will be a long journey. Ideally we will work towards a professional league in Singapore and it’s a small step towards that big goal, but it’s a good first step to take.”

The club license was first introduced in the FAS in 2011 as a list of basic criteria for S-League clubs to participate in Asian Football Confederation (AFC) club competitions such as the AFC Champions League and AFC Cup.

The move to introduce a club licensing system for women’s teams is part of FAS’ plans to lift the local women’s league.

The pilot project will begin with a two-year education phase to help clubs meet the criteria required to obtain a licence, before the system is implemented from 2024.

The criteria that clubs must meet to be licensed fall into five main categories: sporting, infrastructure, legal, administrative and personnel, and financial.

The Straits Times understands that seven Women’s Premier League clubs will be involved in the pilot.

Kong added that she hopes the introduction of a club licensing system will also bring stability to the league which often sees clubs come and go.

Culture, Community and Youth Minister Edwin Tong, who was guest of honor at the event, also announced that women’s football would be included in the School Football Academy (SFA) programme, which aims to become a pipeline to produce young players with good techniques. capacity.

It was announced last year that 10 schools would participate in an SFA pilot program starting in 2022 and these institutions would eventually participate in a youth league that would run throughout the year.

Each SFA will have a staff of at least four to five full-time coaches, including specialist goalkeeping, strength and conditioning coaches, and performance analysts.

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