Spain’s top football league, LaLiga, took another step towards growing its popularity in South-east Asia by announcing the opening of an outpost in Singapore.
At the launch event on Thursday (23 March) at the National Gallery Singapore, LaLiga president Javier Tebas said, “Asia has always been a very important market for us, and we feel that the time is right to grow our presence in the region even further, where we have a huge fan base.” The Singapore office is the fourth LaLiga bureau in Asia, following Dubai, China and India.
The League hopes to extend its reach here by organising exhibition matches, players visits and development programmes at the grassroots level. It also wants to appeal more to Asian fans by changing the timings of matches to take into account viewers in the region.
Singapore is of particular importance, said Tebas, because one of LaLiga’s most important clubs is financed by Singapore capital. Spanish club Valencia is owned by Singaporean Peter Lim.
Added Tebas, “Singapore is going to be the gate that is going to open for us this region.”
Proud to be on La Liga ‘radar’
Interim president of the Football Association of Singapore, Lim Kia Tong, was also part of Thursday’s ceremony. “I am truly touched that Singapore – a little red dot on the world map – is detected by LaLiga radar. I am indeed extremely happy this morning to tell you that Singapore in general and the Football Association in particular is very proud that LaLiga has chosen to establish its regional hub here,” he said.
After the announcement of the new office, football stars like LaLiga ambassador Fernando Morientes and former Singapore captain Aleksandar Duric faced off in an exhibition match on the Padang. Said Morientes, “I hope to help improve the football here in Asia; for us it will be important that we try to be closer to the players, the supporters. It’s amazing for us.”