S.League

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S.League
Yeo's Great Eastern S.League logo.png
Country Singapore
Other club(s) from Brunei, Japan, Malaysia
Confederation AFC (Asia)
Founded 1996
First season 1996
Number of teams 12
Levels on pyramid 1
Domestic cup(s) Singapore Cup
Singapore League Cup
Singapore Charity Shield
International cup(s) AFC Champions League
AFC Cup
Current champions Tampines Rovers (5th title)
(2013)
Most championships Singapore Armed Forces (8 titles)
TV partners MediaCorp Okto
StarHub TV
Astro Arena
ESPN STAR Sports
Website Official website
2014 S.League

The S.League is an Singaporean professional league for men's association football clubs. At the highest level of domestic football competition in Singapore, it is the country's primary football competition. Contested by 12 clubs, it operates on a system of 2.5 rounds. Besides Singaporean clubs, participation was outreached to clubs from Brunei, China, France, Japan and Korea to raise its level of competitiveness and profile.[1]

The S.League is run by the Football Association of Singapore. Seasons run from February to October, with teams playing 27 matches each, totalling 192 matches in the season. Most games are played on weekdays, the other games during weekend evenings. It is currently sponsored by Great Eastern Life and YEO'S, and thus officially known as the Great Eastern YEO'S S.League.

Since the inception of S.League in 1996, a total of 5 clubs have been crowned champions. Warriors have been the most successful club with 8 titles, followed by Tampines Rovers (5), Geylang International (2) and Home United (2). Etoile (1) became the first foreign club to win the competition in 2010. The current champions are Tampines Rovers, who won the title in the 2013 season.

History[edit]

Singapore had been represented in the Malaysia (Malaya) Cup through the Singapore Lions since 1921. The Lions were one of the most successful teams in the competition, having won it 24 times from 1921 to 1994. Following a dispute over gate receipts between the FAS and FAM[2] after winning the league and cup double in 1994, the Lions withdrew from the Malaysian competitions.

Subsequently, the Football Association of Singapore decided to build a professional league system. However, as it was estimated to take about a year to put in place the structure of the professional S.League, the Singapore Lions were given match practice in what was then the top level of domestic football, the semi-professional FAS Premier League. This team won the last FAS Premier League title, finishing the season unbeaten.

Inaugural season

The S.League was founded in 1996. The FAS invited applications for clubs to compete in the newly formed league. Eight successful applications were made. Two clubs from the Premier League - powerhouse Geylang International (renamed Geylang United; 6 consecutive Premier League titles) and Balestier United (renamed Balestier Central - joined six from the amateur National Football League - Police, Singapore Armed Forces, Tampines Rovers, Tiong Bahru United, Wellington (renamed Woodlands Wellington) and Sembawang Rangers (merger of Gibraltar Crescent and Sembawang SC) - for the inaugural edition of the S.League. The season was split into the two series. Tiger Beer Series winners Geylang United defeated Pioneer Series winners Singapore Armed Forces 2-1 in the end of season Championship Playoff to be crowned the 1st S.League champions.[3] The 30,000 crowd at the playoff remains the record attendance in the S.League.

Expansion of the League

Police FC renamed themselves as Home United for the 1997 season to reflect their representation of not only the Singapore Police Force, but also other HomeTeam Departments of the Singapore Ministry of Home Affairs such as the SCDF and the ICA. NFL side Jurong Town FC, who renamed themselves Jurong FC, joined the competition taking the number of participating clubs to 9. The league switched from its previous format to a round-robin competition. Singapore Armed Forces won their first title.

Gombak United and Marine Castle United joined the S.League in 1998, further taking the number of clubs to 11. Tiong Bahru United renamed themselves to Tanjong Pagar United at the start of the season. Singapore Armed Forces won their second consecutive title.

Clementi Khalsa joined the S.League in 1999 as a representative of the Sikh community in Singapore. The league took on 12 teams for the next five years. Home United won their first title.

Foreign Clubs

The FAS decided to invite foreign clubs to the league to improve diminishing interest. Sinchi FC, a side composed of Chinese players became the first foreign club to participate in 2003. Shi Jiayi and Qiu Li went on to become naturalised Singapore players.

J.League club Albirex Niigata entered their feeder club in the 2004 S.League. The club proved to be one of the most successful foreign sides in the S.League, drawing on the support of Japanese expats. They still play in the S.League as of 2014.

Sporting Afrique FC, a club made up of African players and Super Reds FC, a side composed of South Korean players became the third and fourth foreign clubs to join the competition in 2006 and 2007 respectively. Sporting Afrique were refused entry into the 2007 S.League due to off-field controversies and poor performance. Super Reds were denied a place after three seasons following attempts to convert into a team of local players.

Chinese Super League clubs Liaoning FC (2007), Dalian Shide FC (2008) and Beijing Guoan FC (2010) entered their feeder clubs in the S.League. All three clubs lasted one season before being pulled out of the league due to poor performances and disciplinary issues.

Bruneian club DPMM FC joined the S.League in 2009 before being pulled from the league as a result of a FIFA ban. They re-entered the league from 2012. They were the first club to base themselves outside of Singapore.

In 2010, French club Etoile FC became the first foreign side to win the S.League. Etoile pulled out of the S-League prior to the 2012 season to focus on grassroots football and youth development.

Malaysia national youth sides Harimau Muda A and Harimau Muda B were the most recent sides to join the S.League following an agreement between the Football Association of Singapore and Football Association of Malaysia to send their representative sides into their respective domestic competitions. Singapore side LionsXII returned to the Malaysian competitions in 2012.

Competition Format[edit]

Competition

Teams received three points for a win and one point for a draw. No points were awarded for a loss. The champion is crowned at the end of the season. Teams are ranked by total points, then goal difference, goals scored, and then number of wins. If still equal, the same tiebreakers are used on head-to-head records between the teams, followed by better fair play record. There is no relegation or promotion system in the league. Clubs enter the S.League by invitation of the Football Association of Singapore.

Seasons No. of
Clubs
Matches
per Club
Notes
1996 8 14 x 2 series One title playoff match between series winners at the end of the season.
1997 9 16
1998 11 20
1999, 2000 12 22
2001, 2002, 2003 12 33 In 2003, matches proceeded to a penalty shootout in the event of a draw. Shootout winners were awarded an extra point on top of the draw.
2004, 2005 10 27
2006 11 30
2007, 2008, 2009
2010, 2011
12 33 DPMM's results were expunged towards the end of 2009 following a FIFA ban, officially leaving 11 teams playing 30 matches each.
2012 13 24
2013, 2014 12 27 The league was split into two halves after matchday 22. Teams in each half play every other team from their half once, for an additional five matches. Results in the 2nd phase were added to that in the 1st phase for overall standings.

Qualification for Asian competitions

S.League winners qualify for the AFC Champions League and Singapore Cup winners qualify for the AFC Cup. In the event of the same club winning both the S.League and Singapore Cup, the runners-up of the league takes up the AFC Cup qualification spot. Foreign clubs are ineligible to represent the Football Association of Singapore in AFC continental competitions. The qualification spot is given to the next best-placed club in the league if a foreign club wins any of the two competitions.

Clubs[edit]

A total of 25 clubs have played in the S.League from its inception in 1996 up to and including the 2014 season. The following 12 clubs are competing in the S.League during the 2014 season.

Current clubs[edit]

Six clubs have played in all 19 seasons of the S.League as of 2014.

Location of teams in 2014 S.League (Brunei teams)

Former clubs[edit]

Years in brackets indicates seasons active in the S.League.

Past champions[edit]

The S.League has seen five clubs win the title since its inception. Warriors FC (formerly SAF FC) hold the most titles at eight. In 2010, Etoile FC became the first foreign side to win the competition.[4]

Season Winners Runners-up
1996* Singapore Geylang United (1) Singapore Singapore Armed Forces
1997 Singapore Singapore Armed Forces (1) Singapore Tiong Bahru United
1998 Singapore Singapore Armed Forces (2) Singapore Tanjong Pagar United
1999 Singapore Home United (1) Singapore Singapore Armed Forces
2000 Singapore Singapore Armed Forces (3) Singapore Tanjong Pagar United
2001 Singapore Geylang United (2) Singapore Singapore Armed Forces
2002 Singapore Singapore Armed Forces (4) Singapore Home United
2003 Singapore Home United (2) Singapore Geylang United
2004 Singapore Tampines Rovers (1) Singapore Home United
2005 Singapore Tampines Rovers (2) Singapore Singapore Armed Forces
2006 Singapore Singapore Armed Forces (5) Singapore Tampines Rovers
2007 Singapore Singapore Armed Forces (6) Singapore Home United
2008 Singapore Singapore Armed Forces (7) South Korea Super Reds
2009 Singapore Singapore Armed Forces (8) Singapore Tampines Rovers
2010 France Etoile (1) Singapore Tampines Rovers
2011 Singapore Tampines Rovers (3) Singapore Home United
2012 Singapore Tampines Rovers (4) Brunei Brunei DPMM
2013 Singapore Tampines Rovers (5) Singapore Home United

* The inaugural season of the S.League was split into two series. The winners of each series completed in a Championship play-off in which Geylang United defeated Singapore Armed Forces to claim the first S.League title.

Performance by Clubs[edit]

Club Winners Runners-up Winning years
Singapore Warriors
8
4
1997, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009
Singapore Tampines Rovers
5
3
2004, 2005, 2011, 2012, 2013
Singapore Home United
2
5
1999, 2003
Singapore Geylang International
2
1
1996, 2001
France Etoile
1
0
2010
Singapore Tanjong Pagar United
0
3
South Korea Super Reds
0
1
Brunei Brunei DPMM
0
1

Awards[edit]

Note nationality of players at presentation of award. A number of foreign players were naturalised to play for Singapore later in their career.

Top Scorers[edit]

Season Name Club Goals
1996 Croatia Eres Jure Singapore Armed Forces 28
1997 Croatia Goran Paulic Balestier Central 21[5]
1998 England Stuart Young Home United 22[5]
1999 Croatia Mirko Grabovac Singapore Armed Forces 23
2000 Croatia Mirko Grabovac Singapore Armed Forces 19
2001 Croatia Mirko Grabovac Singapore Armed Forces 42^
2002 Singapore Mirko Grabovac Singapore Armed Forces 36^
2003 Brazil Peres de Oliveira Home United 37^
2004 Singapore Egmar Goncalves Home United 30
2005 Singapore Mirko Grabovac Tampines Rovers 26
2006 Morocco Laakkad Abdelhadi Woodlands Wellington 23
2007 Singapore Aleksandar Đurić Singapore Armed Forces 37
2008 Singapore Aleksandar Đurić Singapore Armed Forces 28
2009 Singapore Aleksandar Đurić Singapore Armed Forces 28
2010 France Frédéric Mendy Etoile 21
2011 Bosnia and Herzegovina Mislav Karoglan Singapore Armed Forces 33
2012 France Frédéric Mendy Home United 20
2013 Singapore Aleksandar Đurić
South Korea Moon Soon-Ho
Tampines Rovers
Woodlands Wellington
15

* Mirko Grabovac was a naturalised Singapore player from 2002 until he renounced his Singapore citizenship in 2008.
^ Goals in all domestic competitions, including the S.League and Singapore Cup.

Player of the Year Award[edit]

Season Name Club
1996 Croatia Ivica Raguž Singapore Armed Forces
1997 Singapore Nazri Nasir Balestier Central
1998 Singapore S. Subramani Tanjong Pagar United
1999 Hungary Zsolt Bücs Home United
2000 Croatia Mirko Grabovac Singapore Armed Forces
2001 England Daniel Bennett Tanjong Pagar United
2002 Thailand Therdsak Chaiman Singapore Armed Forces
2003 Brazil Peres de Oliveira Home United
2004 Thailand Surachai Jaturapattarapong Home United
2005 Singapore Noh Alam Shah Tampines Rovers
2006 Morocco Laakkad Abdelhadi Woodlands Wellington
2007 Singapore Aleksandar Đurić Singapore Armed Forces
2008 Singapore Aleksandar Đurić Singapore Armed Forces
2009 Cameroon Valery Hiek Home United
2010 Singapore Shahril Ishak Home United
2011 Bosnia and Herzegovina Mislav Karoglan Singapore Armed Forces
2012 Singapore Aleksandar Đurić Tampines Rovers
2013 South Korea Lee Kwan-Woo Home United

Young Player of the Year[edit]

Season Name Club
1996 Singapore Robin Chitrakar Geylang United
1997 Singapore Ahmad Latiff Khamaruddin Geylang United
1998 Singapore Lim Soon Seng Tanjong Pagar United
1999 Singapore Yazid Yasin Home United
2000 Singapore Indra Sahdan Daud Geylang United
2001 Singapore Indra Sahdan Daud Home United
2002 Singapore Noh Alam Shah Sembawang Rangers
2003 Singapore Baihakki Khaizan Geylang United
2004 Serbia Fahrudin Mustafić* Tampines Rovers
2005 Canada Issey Nakajima-Farran Albirex Niigata (S)
2006 Cameroon Kengne Ludovick Balestier Khalsa
2007 Singapore Shariff Abdul Samat Tampines Rovers
2008 Singapore Khairul Amri Tampines Rovers
2009 Nigeria Gabriel Obatola Gombak United
2010 Singapore Hariss Harun Young Lions
2011 Japan Tatsuro Inui Albirex Niigata (S)
2012 Malaysia Wan Zack Haikal Harimau Muda A
2013 France Sirina Camara Home United

* Fahrudin Mustafić held Serbian citizenship before being naturalised to play for Singapore in 2007.

Coach of the Year[edit]

Season Name Club
1996 Singapore Vincent Subramaniam Singapore Armed Forces
1997 Singapore Vincent Subramaniam Singapore Armed Forces
1998 Singapore Jita Singh Sembawang Rangers
1999 Netherlands Robert Alberts Home United
2000 Singapore Fandi Ahmad Singapore Armed Forces
2001 South Korea Jang Jung Geylang United
2002 Malaysia M. Karathu Woodlands Wellington
2003 Australia Scott O'Donell Geylang United
2004 Thailand Vorawan Chitavanich Tampines Rovers
2005 Thailand Vorawan Chitavanich Tampines Rovers
2006 Singapore Richard Bok Singapore Armed Forces
2007 Singapore Richard Bok Singapore Armed Forces
2008 Japan Hiroaki Hiraoka Albirex Niigata (S)
2009 Singapore Richard Bok Singapore Armed Forces
2010 Thailand Vorawan Chitavanich Tampines Rovers
2011 Japan Koichi Sugiyama Albirex Niigata (S)
2012 Croatia Vjeran Simunić Brunei DPMM
2013 South Korea Lee Lim-Saeng Home United

People's Choice Award[edit]

Season Name Club
2002 Serbia Sead Muratović Tampines Rovers
2003 Singapore Indra Sahdan Daud Home United
2004 Singapore Agu Casmir Young Lions
2005 Singapore Zulkarnaen Zainal Tampines Rovers
2006 Singapore Khairul Amri Young Lions
2007 Singapore Aleksandar Đurić Singapore Armed Forces
2008 Cameroon Kengne Ludovick Home United
2009 Nigeria Gabriel Obatola Gombak United
2010 Singapore Shahril Jantan Singapore Armed Forces
2011 Singapore Safuwan Baharudin Young Lions
2012 Malaysia Wan Zack Haikal Harimau Muda A
2013 Guinea Mamadou M. Diallo Hougang United

Fair Play Award[edit]

Season Club
1996 Singapore Singapore Armed Forces
1997 Singapore Singapore Armed Forces
1998 Singapore Singapore Armed Forces
1999 Singapore Geylang United
2000 Singapore Sembawang Rangers
2001 Singapore Singapore Armed Forces
2002 Singapore Singapore Armed Forces
2003 Singapore Young Lions
2004 Japan Albirex Niigata (S)
2005 Singapore Young Lions
2006 Singapore Young Lions
2007 Japan Albirex Niigata (S)
2008 South Korea Super Reds
2009 Singapore Home United
2010 Singapore Tampines Rovers
2011 Japan Albirex Niigata (S)
2012 Japan Albirex Niigata (S)
2013 Japan Albirex Niigata (S)

Special awards[edit]

100 S.League goals[edit]

Season Name Club
2002 Singapore Mirko Grabovac Singapore Armed Forces
2003 Singapore Indra Sahdan Daud Home United
2003 Bosnia and HerzegovinaAustralia Aleksandar Đurić* Geylang United
2004 Singapore Egmar Goncalves Home United
2005 Singapore Noh Alam Shah Tampines Rovers
2005 Brazil Peres De Oliveira Home United
2007 Singapore Agu Casmir Gombak United
2008 South Korea Park Tae-Won Woodlands Wellington
2010 Singapore Mohd Noor Ali Woodlands Wellington

Aleksandar Đurić became a naturalised Singapore player in 2007.

200 S.League goals[edit]

Season Name Club
2005 Singapore Mirko Grabovac* Tampines Rovers
2007 Singapore Aleksandar Đurić Singapore Armed Forces

Mirko Grabovac was a Singaporean when he won the 200 S.League Goals award in 2005.

300 S.League goals[edit]

Season Name Club
2010 Singapore Aleksandar Đurić Tampines Rovers


All-time S.League Table[edit]

The all-time S.League table is a cumulative record of all match results, points and goals of every team that has played in the S.League since its inception in 1996. The table that follows is accurate as of the end of the 2013 season. Teams in bold are part of the 2014 S.League.

Pos
Club
No. of
Seasons
Pld
W (PK)[6] D
L
F
A
GD
Pts
Pts PG
1 Singapore Warriors a 18 504 315 (2) 86 101 1170 613 +557 1035 2.05
2 Singapore Home United 18 504 288 (2) 90 124 1029 628 +401 958 1.90
3 Singapore Tampines Rovers 18 504 268 (3) 97 136 996 648 +348 907 1.80
4 Singapore Geylang International a 18 504 211 (3) 106 184 788 696 +92 745 1.48
5 Singapore Woodlands Wellington c 18 504 162 (4) 112 226 720 878 -158 600 1.19
6 Singapore Balestier Khalsa 18 504 139 (2) 111 252 646 929 -283 532 1.06
7 Japan Albirex Niigata (S) 10 297 120 78 99 463 400 +63 438 1.47
8 Singapore Gombak United 12 346 114 88 144 462 528 -66 432 1.25
9 Singapore Tanjong Pagar United 12 318 117 (2) 65 134 473 537 -64 420 1.32
10 Singapore Young Lions f 11 330 103 (1) 74 152 441 545 -104 380 1.15
11 Singapore Hougang United f 14 406 89 (8) 75 234 444 803 -359 353 0.87
12 Singapore Jurong 7 179 70 (7) 29 73 261 274 -13 253 1.41
13 Singapore Sembawang Rangers 8 207 53 (5) 47 102 256 409 -149 216 1.04
14 South Korea Super Reds 3 96 41 20 35 144 146 -2 143 1.49
15 France Etoile e 2 66 42 11 13 119 59 +60 132 2.00
16 Singapore Clementi Khalsa 4 110 22 29 59 150 261 -111 95 0.86
17 China Sinchi b 3 87 22 (6) 13 46 109 167 -58 88 1.01
18 Brunei Brunei DPMM d 2 51 24 11 16 90 73 +17 83 1.63
19 Malaysia Harimau Muda A 1 24 13 3 8 37 23 +14 42 1.75
20 China Beijing Guoan Talent e 1 33 10 6 17 30 49 -19 31 0.94
21 Malaysia Harimau Muda B 1 27 8 6 13 33 43 -10 30 1.11
22 China Liaonng Guangyuan 1 33 8 5 20 33 63 -30 29 0.88
23 Singapore Sporting Afrique 1 30 5 9 26 36 59 -23 24 0.80
24 China Dalian Shide Siwu 1 33 5 7 21 26 75 -55 22 0.67
25 Singapore Paya Lebar Punggol 1 27 1 1 25 23 78 -55 4 0.15

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Singapore League (S. League)". National Library Board. 14 June 2014. 
  2. ^ Joe Dorai (17 January 1995). "Malaysian states want 15 per cent levy to play at Kallang". The Straits Times. p. 31. 
  3. ^ "Geylang wins S-League's Championship match". The Straits Times. 10 November 1996. 
  4. ^ "S.League overview". S.League. Retrieved 6 March 2014. 
  5. ^ a b Eric Ding (29 August 2005). "Golden Boot". Today. p. 38. 
  6. ^ The 2003 edition of the S.League saw the introduction of penalty shootouts if a match ended a draw. Shootout winners were awarded an extra point on top of the draw.

External links[edit]