Footballing Weekly: Will Singapore pitches suffer from overuse with so many ongoing competitions?

Upcoming Singapore Premier League will see four teams use Jalan Besar Stadium as home ground with Our Tampines Hub pitch to be closed for repair

Will the Jalan Besar Stadium pitch hold up for the 2024/25 Singapore Premier League season, with four teams using the stadium as their home ground?
Will the Jalan Besar Stadium pitch hold up for the 2024/25 Singapore Premier League season, with four teams using the stadium as their home ground? (FILE PHOTO: Julian Finney - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — The 2024/25 Singapore Premier League (SPL) is set to kick off on 4 May, with each of the nine clubs set to play 32 matches for the expanded schedule - a jump from the 24-game season in 2023.

Yet, there will be fewer football pitches available in Singapore for the upcoming season compared to the previous year, with the closure of the Our Tampines Hub pitch for field restoration works.

This means only Jalan Besar Stadium, Bishan Stadium and Jurong East Stadium will be used for SPL league matches in Singapore. And while Brunei's DPMM FC will play their 16 home games at their Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Bandari Seri Begawan, it still means that the other eight teams will need to share those three pitches.

In fact, four teams - Young Lions, Hougang United, BG Tampines Rovers and Geylang International - will be using the Jalan Besar stadium for their home matches.

With the pitches at Hougang Stadium and Toa Payoh Stadium closed for repairs and upgrades, and the closures of the pitches at the Turf City, the availability of quality football pitches in Singapore could become an issue this season, especially considering that there are more competitions happening around the city-state.

The inaugural Singapore Youth League, for example, is an important grassroots project to build up the youth playing base. However, with the league featuring over 200 teams playing about 1,100 matches, it puts strain on pitch availability around the city-state, and whether the pitches could be marred by overplaying.

Just look at the Deloitte's Women's Premier League, which has been dogged by the poorly-maintained pitch at Choa Chu Kang Stadium, where most of its matches were scheduled to be played. Following complaints from players after the first match weekend, the pitch underwent repair works and the league added a second venue at ITE College East to split the league matches and put less strain on the pitches.

Will the SPL avoid such pitch concerns? Join co-hosts Neil Humphreys and Chia Han Keong, as well as ex-Singapore international defender Daniel Bennett, as they discuss the issue on the "Footballing Weekly" podcast show.

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