Hyundai Motors joins S.League as co-title sponsor

Nigel Chin
Reporter
Hyundai’s co-title sponsorship of the S.League was announced at a press conference held on Thursday (23 Feb).

The S.League unveiled global car manufacturer Hyundai Motors as new co-title sponsor after Yeo’s ended its longtime sponsorship of the league.

In a press conference at Komoco Motors’ office at Alexandra Road on Thursday (23 Feb), it was announced that Hyundai is taking over from Yeo Hiap Seng, who will not be renewing their sponsorship after 13 years as a co-title sponsor.

Monetary terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Teo Hock Seng, managing director of Komoco Motors Group – Hyundai’s sole distributor in Singapore, said the two year deal is “value for money”.

It will be Teo’s return to local football after a year away, having been chairman of Tampines Rovers for 15 years from 2000 until 2015.

Hyundai’s co-sponsorship of the S.League also extends their involvement in football. They are the official automotive partners of FIFA, the world’s governing body for football, and were also a sponsor during the 2016 European Championships.

They are also a sponsor of the Asian Football Confederation and are the title sponsors for Australia’s A-League.

Football Association of Singapore’s (FAS) interim president Lim Kia Tong said that they are “truly fortunate and extremely blessed” to have the support of a leading and world renowned multi-national company.

Helping local football

For Teo, the opportunity to become a co-title sponsor of the S.League was a straightforward decision.

“We (Hyundai) have always been on the sideline, trying to help football,” Teo said at the press conference.

“S.League is the backbone of football in Singapore, and without the S.League, there’s no football. Let’s see on our end what we can draw through Hyundai’s connections to help Singapore football. “That’s our commitment,” he said.

Amidst problems including falling attendance and frequent rule changes, Teo pointed out that he hopes to see the local league run professionally again.

“Apart from being a co-sponsor, we will look into trying to synergise, trying to standardise one or two areas that are prone to weaknesses,” said Teo.

The 70-year-old, widely regarded as the ‘godfather’ of local football for his contributions as chairman of Tampines Rovers, cited the example of the foreign players, where he hinted that some players did not play at a high standard. “They are paid a lot of money, but what sort of foreign players are we really getting? Recycled? Or injured?” he asked.

He added that he hope to see the number of teams in the S.League increased from the current nine to 11.

Teo clarifies that the sponsorship is just to help the S.League and that he has no other motives. “Not that I have an ulterior motive… I have an open objective, if not, why would I bother to sponsor?” he said.

The deal was made possible also through FAS assistant marketing director Rikram Jit Singh.

Lim said it was Singh’s idea to approach Teo as a co-title sponsor.

Singh said that given Hyundai’s extensive involvement in football globally, it made sense for FAS to approach Hyundai and start a partnership.

“Hyundai Motors have long been part of the international football family since 1999 and their commitment to helping the sport develop saw them renew their sponsorship deal as FIFA’s official automotive partner for the World Cup till 2022, while also putting the A-League on the world football map as their main league sponsor,” Singh said.

“It is important to note how significant this two-year deal to be co-title sponsor of the S.League is as we now have a two partners, together with Great Eastern Life, who believe in football and has steadfast dedication to see Singapore football climb to greater heights.”