S.League

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S.League
SLeaguelogo.gif
Founded 1996; 21 years ago (1996)
Country Singapore Singapore
Other club(s) from Brunei Brunei
Japan Japan
Confederation AFC (Asia)
Number of teams 9
Level on pyramid 1
Domestic cup(s) Singapore Cup
League Cup
Community Sheild
International cup(s) AFC Cup
AFC Champions League
Current champions Japan Albirex Niigata (S)
(1st title) (2016)
Most championships Warriors FC (9 titles)
TV partners StarHub TV/ Okto
Website Official website
2017 S.League

The S.League is the 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 nine clubs, it consists of three rounds in which each team plays every other team once. Clubs from Brunei, China, France, Japan and Korea have been invited to take part in the league 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 24 matches each, totalling 108 matches in the season. It is currently sponsored by Great Eastern Life and Hyundai Motor Company, and thus officially known as the Great Eastern Hyundai S.League for sponsorship reasons.

Since the inception of S.League in 1996, a total of 6 clubs have been crowned champions. Warriors FC have been the most successful club with 9 titles, followed by Tampines Rovers (5), Geylang International (2) and Home United (2). Étoile FC (1) and DPMM FC (1) became the foreign club to win the competition in 2010 and 2015. The current champions are Albirex Niigata (S), who won the title in the 2016 season.

History[edit]

Singapore had been represented in the Malaysia 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 2016.

Sporting Afrique, a club made up of African players, and Super Reds, 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. In 2010, 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 each 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 Étoile 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.

20th season

The league took on a number of changes for the 2015 season in order to increase its competitiveness.[4][5] The number of clubs was reduced from 12 to 10, with the withdrawal of Tanjong Pagar United due to financial problems, and the merger of Woodlands Wellington and Hougang United.[4][6] The league returned to a three-round format used from 2001 to 2011.[4] The foreign player quota remained at five per club but incentives were given to those who signed an under-21 player.[6] The passing time for the mandatory 2.4 km fitness test was lowered from 10 mins to 9 mins 45 s.[4] A new rule on age restrictions – a maximum of five players aged 30 and above and a minimum of three under-25 players for clubs with a 22-man squad, a maximum of four players aged 30 and above and a minimum of two under-25 players for clubs with a 20-man squad – was later reversed.[6][7]


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.
2015 10 27 The league returned to a three-round format.
2016, 2017 9 24

Qualification for Asian competitions

S.League winners qualify for the AFC Champions League playoff spot and Singapore Cup winners qualify for the AFC Cup playoff spot. 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 9 clubs are competing in the S.League during the 2016 season.

Current 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 9 clubs are competing in the S.League during the 2017 season.

Team Founded Based Stadium Capacity Former Name
Japan Albirex Niigata (S) 2004 Jurong East Jurong East Stadium 2,700
Balestier Khalsa 1898 Toa Payoh Toa Payoh Stadium 3,896 formed from merger of Balestier Central and Clementi Khalsa in 2002.
Brunei DPMM FC 2000 Bandar Seri Begawan Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium 28,000
Geylang International 1973 Bedok Bedok Stadium 3,964 known as Geylang United from 1996 to 2012.
Home United 1940 Bishan Bishan Stadium 6,254 known as Police FC in debut season.
Hougang United 1981 Hougang Hougang Stadium 3,400 known as Marine Castle United (1998-2001), Sengkang Marine (2002-2003), Sengkang Punggol (2006-2010; merger with Paya Lebar Punggol).
Tampines Rovers 1945 Tampines Tampines Town Hub 5,000
Warriors FC 1975 Choa Chu Kang Choa Chu Kang Stadium 4,268 known as Singapore Armed Forces from 1996 to 2012.
Singapore Young Lions 2002 Kallang Jalan Besar Stadium 8,000

Balestier Khalsa, Geylang International, Home United, Tampines Rovers, and Warriors have played in all 22 seasons of the S.League as of 2017.

Woodlands Wellington and Hougang United will merge for the 2015 season, however the club name will remain as Hougang United.

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 nine. In 2010, Étoile FC became the first foreign side to win the competition.[8]

Season Winners Runners-up
1996* Geylang United Singapore Armed Forces
1997 Singapore Armed Forces Tiong Bahru United
1998 Singapore Armed Forces Tanjong Pagar United
1999 Home United Singapore Armed Forces
2000 Singapore Armed Forces Tanjong Pagar United
2001 Geylang United Singapore Armed Forces
2002 Singapore Armed Forces Home United
2003 Home United Geylang United
2004 Tampines Rovers Home United
2005 Tampines Rovers Singapore Armed Forces
2006 Singapore Armed Forces Tampines Rovers
2007 Singapore Armed Forces Home United
2008 Singapore Armed Forces South Korea Super Reds
2009 Singapore Armed Forces Tampines Rovers
2010 France Étoile FC Tampines Rovers
2011 Tampines Rovers Home United
2012 Tampines Rovers Brunei DPMM FC
2013 Tampines Rovers Home United
2014 Warriors FC Brunei DPMM FC
2015 Brunei DPMM FC Tampines Rovers
2016 Japan Albirex Niigata (S) Tampines Rovers

* 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
Warriors FC
9
4
1997, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2014
Tampines Rovers
5
5
2004, 2005, 2011, 2012, 2013
Home United
2
5
1999, 2003
Geylang International
2
1
1996, 2001
Brunei DPMM FC
1
2
2015
Japan Albirex Niigata (S)
1
0
2016
France Étoile FC
1
0
2010
Tanjong Pagar United
0
3
South Korea Super Reds
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 Jure Eres Singapore Armed Forces 28
1997 Croatia Goran Paulic Balestier Central 21[9]
1998 England Stuart Young Home United 22[9]
1999 Croatia Mirko Grabovac Singapore Armed Forces 23
2000 Croatia Mirko Grabovac Singapore Armed Forces 19
2001 Croatia Mirko Grabovac Singapore Armed Forces 39
2002 Mirko Grabovac Singapore Armed Forces 34
2003 Brazil Peres de Oliveira Home United 31
2004 Egmar Goncalves Home United 30
2005 Mirko Grabovac Tampines Rovers 26
2006 Morocco Laakkad Abdelhadi Woodlands Wellington 23
2007 Aleksandar Đurić Singapore Armed Forces 37
2008 Aleksandar Đurić Singapore Armed Forces 28
2009 Aleksandar Đurić Singapore Armed Forces 28
2010 France Frédéric Mendy Etoile FC 21
2011 Bosnia and Herzegovina Mislav Karoglan Singapore Armed Forces 33
2012 France Frédéric Mendy Home United 20
2013 Aleksandar Đurić
South Korea Moon Soon-Ho
Tampines Rovers
Woodlands Wellington
15
2014
Brazil Rodrigo Tosi[10] Brunei DPMM FC
24
2015 Brazil Rafael Ramazotti Brunei DPMM FC 21
2016 Brazil Rafael Ramazotti Brunei DPMM FC 20

* Mirko Grabovac was a naturalised Singapore player from 2002 until he renounced his Singapore citizenship in 2008.

Source:"S.League leading scorers". S.League. 

Player of the Year Award[edit]

Season Name Club
1996 Croatia Ivica Raguž Singapore Armed Forces
1997 Nazri Nasir Balestier Central
1998 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 Noh Alam Shah Tampines Rovers
2006 Morocco Laakkad Abdelhadi Woodlands Wellington
2007 Aleksandar Đurić Singapore Armed Forces
2008 Aleksandar Đurić Singapore Armed Forces
2009 Cameroon Valery Hiek Home United
2010 Shahril Ishak Home United
2011 Bosnia and Herzegovina Mislav Karoglan Singapore Armed Forces
2012 Aleksandar Đurić Tampines Rovers
2013 South Korea Lee Kwan-Woo Home United
2014 Hassan Sunny[10] Warriors FC
2015 Japan Fumiya Kogure[11] Japan Albirex Niigata (S)
2016 Japan Atsushi Kawata Japan Albirex Niigata (S)

Young Player of the Year[edit]

Season Name Club
1996 Robin Chitrakar Geylang United
1997 Ahmad Latiff Khamaruddin Geylang United
1998 Lim Soon Seng Tanjong Pagar United
1999 Yazid Yasin Home United
2000 Indra Sahdan Daud Geylang United
2001 Indra Sahdan Daud Home United
2002 Noh Alam Shah Sembawang Rangers
2003 Baihakki Khaizan Geylang United
2004 Serbia Fahrudin Mustafić* Tampines Rovers
2005 Canada Issey Nakajima-Farran Japan Albirex Niigata (S)
2006 Cameroon Kengne Ludovick Balestier Khalsa
2007 Shariff Abdul Samat Tampines Rovers
2008 Khairul Amri Tampines Rovers
2009 Nigeria Gabriel Obatola Gombak United
2010 Hariss Harun Singapore Young Lions
2011 Japan Tatsuro Inui Japan Albirex Niigata (S)
2012 Malaysia Wan Zack Haikal Malaysia Harimau Muda A
2013 France Sirina Camara Home United
2014 Argentina Nicolás Vélez[10] Warriors FC
2015 Brunei Azwan Ali Brunei DPMM FC
2016 M Anumanthan Hougang United

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

Coach of the Year[edit]

Season Name Club
1996 Vincent Subramaniam Singapore Armed Forces
1997 Vincent Subramaniam Singapore Armed Forces
1998 Jita Singh Sembawang Rangers
1999 Netherlands Robert Alberts Home United
2000 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 Richard Bok Singapore Armed Forces
2007 Richard Bok Singapore Armed Forces
2008 Japan Hiroaki Hiraoka Japan Albirex Niigata (S)
2009 Richard Bok Singapore Armed Forces
2010 Thailand Vorawan Chitavanich Tampines Rovers
2011 Japan Koichi Sugiyama Japan Albirex Niigata (S)
2012 Croatia Vjeran Simunić Brunei DPMM FC
2013 South Korea Lee Lim-Saeng Home United
2014 Croatia Marko Kraljević[10] Balestier Khalsa
2015 Scotland Steve Kean Brunei DPMM FC
2016 Japan Naoki Naruo Japan Albirex Niigata (S)

People's Choice Award[edit]

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

Fair Play Award[edit]

Season Club
1996 Singapore Armed Forces
1997 Singapore Armed Forces
1998 Singapore Armed Forces
1999 Geylang United
2000 Sembawang Rangers
2001 Singapore Armed Forces
2002 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 Home United
2010 Tampines Rovers
2011 Japan Albirex Niigata (S)
2012 Japan Albirex Niigata (S)
2013 Japan Albirex Niigata (S)
2014 Geylang International[10]
2015 Geylang International
2016 Japan Albirex Niigata (S)

Special awards[edit]

100 S.League goals[edit]

Season Name Club
2002 Mirko Grabovac Singapore Armed Forces
2003 Indra Sahdan Daud Home United
2003 Bosnia and HerzegovinaAustralia Aleksandar Đurić* Geylang United
2004 Egmar Goncalves Home United
2005 Noh Alam Shah Tampines Rovers
2005 Brazil Peres De Oliveira Home United
2007 Agu Casmir Gombak United
2008 South Korea Park Tae-Won[12] Woodlands Wellington
2010 Mohd Noor Ali[13] Woodlands Wellington
2014 Qiu Li[10] Balestier Khalsa

Aleksandar Đurić became a naturalised Singapore player in 2007.

200 S.League goals[edit]

Season Name Club
2005 Mirko Grabovac* Tampines Rovers
2007 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 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 2014 season. Teams in bold are part of the 2017 S.League.

Pos
Club
No. of
Seasons
Pld
W (PK)[14] D
L
F
A
GD
Pts
Pts PG
1 Warriors FC a 19 531 331 (2) 91 107 1223 648 +575 1088 2.05
2 Home United 19 531 301 (2) 95 133 1081 669 +412 1002 1.90
3 Tampines Rovers 19 531 282 (3) 104 142 1040 680 +360 956 1.80
4 Geylang International a 19 531 219 (3) 114 195 821 740 +81 777 1.48
5 Woodlands Wellington c 19 531 167 (4) 120 240 743 930 -187 623 1.19
6 Balestier Khalsa 19 531 150 (2) 118 261 692 963 -271 532 1.06
7 Japan Albirex Niigata (S) 11 324 133 83 108 514 440 +74 522 1.47
8 Tanjong Pagar United 13 345 125 (2) 70 148 508 581 -73 449 1.32
9 Gombak United 12 346 114 88 144 462 528 -66 432 1.25
10 Singapore Young Lions f 12 357 110 (1) 79 167 479 599 -120 406 1.15
11 Hougang United f 15 433 101 (8) 81 243 493 845 -352 395 0.87
12 Jurong FC 7 179 70 (7) 29 73 261 274 -13 253 1.41
13 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 Brunei DPMM FC d 3 78 39 16 23 153 103 +50 133 1.63
16 France Étoile FC e 2 66 42 11 13 119 59 +60 132 2.00
17 Clementi Khalsa 4 110 22 29 59 150 261 -111 95 0.86
18 China Sinchi FC b 3 87 22 (6) 13 46 109 167 -58 88 1.01
19 Malaysia Harimau Muda B 2 54 14 8 32 61 110 -49 50 1.11
20 Malaysia Harimau Muda A 1 24 13 3 8 37 23 +14 42 1.75
21 China Beijing Guoan Talent e 1 33 10 6 17 30 49 -19 31 0.94
22 China Liaoning Guangyuan 1 33 8 5 20 33 63 -30 29 0.88
23 CameroonGhanaKenyaNigeria 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 Paya Lebar Punggol 1 27 1 1 25 23 78 -55 4 0.15

Ranking Asian[edit]

AFC Club Ranking[edit]

As of 02 July 2017.[15]
Current Rank Points Team
70 19.266 Tampines Rovers
84 13.266 Home United
109 7.099 Balestier Khalsa
127 4.766 Warriors FC

See also[edit]

References[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. ^ a b c d Osman, Shamir (4 November 2014). "Only 10 teams in S.League next year". The New Paper. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  5. ^ Low, Lin Fhoong (6 November 2014). "Changes will make S-League ‘stronger, more competitive’". Today. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  6. ^ a b c Low, Lin Fhoong (5 November 2014). "Uncertainty over S-League’s changes for 2015". Today. Retrieved 5 November 2014. 
  7. ^ Phua, Emmanuel (24 November 2014). "Players ambivalent about S-League U-turn". Today. Retrieved 24 November 2014. 
  8. ^ "S.League overview". S.League. Retrieved 6 March 2014. 
  9. ^ a b Eric Ding (29 August 2005). "Golden Boot". Today. p. 38. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f "Awards night signals end of 2014 S.League season". S.League. 7 November 2014. Retrieved 18 November 2014. 
  11. ^ "S.League Awards Night 2015 - Goal.com". 30 November 2015. Retrieved 19 August 2017. 
  12. ^ "S.League.com - Amri Takes On Big Brother Role At Young Lions". www.sleague.com. Retrieved 19 August 2017. 
  13. ^ "100 Goals Award: Mohd Noor Ali - The ever smiling joker of the pack". dreamteamsteam.blogspot.sg. Retrieved 19 August 2017. 
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ "AFC Football / Soccer Clubs Ranking". 

External links[edit]