Photo of Grace Fu from TOC

Singapore-born local football players are leaving Singapore for better prospects overseas after the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) imposed an age-quota requiring all local football clubs to have at least 6 under-23 players. Young football players are worried that they will be displaced once they reach above 23 years old, and most of them are making plans to play for foreign clubs.

12 local football players have since left Singapore and signed with foreign clubs, the highest number ever. Among the 12 is 25-year-old midfielder Faris Ramli, who left Home United for a Malaysia club, 27-year-old Izwan Mahbud keeper who left Tampines Rovers for a club in Thailand, and the Singapore national captain Hariss Harun who left Home United for Johor.

Singapore’s football international FIFA ranking is currently at a pitiful low of 172 out of 211 countries, and the Football Association of Singapore removed the ranking page out of embarrassment.

The FAS also suffered corruption investigations involving former PAP MP Zainudin Nordin in April 2017. To worsen the state of Singapore football, the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth under Minister Grace Fu, cut football clubs funding by 20%.