Photo from HYFA

Singapore’s Arsenal Soccer School, JSSL Singapore, hit out at the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) for being a disgrace after they were forced to be evicted from their original training field in Home United Youth Football Academy (HYFA).

On Jan 13, following noise complaints from residents living in the nearby blocks of Aljunied Road forwarded by PAP MP Tin Pei Ling, SLA set out a new operating hours and guidelines ruling that training facilities at HYFA cannot be leased out to other schools, and can only be used by Home United Football Club.

A major lessee of HYFA soccer field is JSSL Singapore, which pays S$30,000 a month to rent the 2.5 hectare soccer field. JSSL has over 1,200 children enrolled in its soccer school but SLA demanded it cease operations immediately at the time of the ruling.

The soccer field was built in 2014 at a cost of S$1 million by SLA, which poorly planned the location without considering its proximity to residential housing. The site costs S$50,000 a month in operating and rental expenses for Home United Football Club. Without deep-pocket lessees like JSSL Singapore, it is estimated that the football club will lose S$15,000 a month and run into financial troubles very soon.

Managing director for JSSL Singapore, Harvey Davis, hit out at the SLA for the imposition of the new law without giving a notification period:

“What they (SLA) did and the way they did it, is to me, unacceptable and a disgrace. If they had given us two months’ grace after imposing the restrictions in December, that would have been proper business etiquette … we would have understood and accepted it in a business sense. Now, they are just acting retroactively, because of the feedback and uproar over the fact that they are shutting down something which is supposed to be for sport, and the manner in which they did it. So while I can understand why they are doing it, I still don’t think it’s very fair in relation to private organisations like ourselves.”

JSSL Singapore has since moved to the Arena at Woodleigh Park.