SINGAPORE, 23 JULY 2018: To provide professional players with a pathway for continuous learning and further education, the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) announced its partnership with PSB Academy – one of Singapore’s leading Private Education Institutions – at a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signing ceremony today.
This is the first time that FAS is collaborating with a Private Education Institution to help prepare players for life after they retire from their professional football career.
Under this partnership, all registered football players will be offered a course rebate when they enrol for a course at PSB Academy over the next five years. Players can choose to take up part-time certificate, diploma or university partner degree courses offered by PSB Academy to accommodate their current training schedules. An additional SGD 10,000 worth of course rebates will be given to any Singapore Premier League (SPL) club which has 10 or more players who enrol for diploma or degree courses together.
With the revamp of the SPL this year and a vision to improve the technical knowledge and capabilities of players, coaches and officials, the FAS has ramped up efforts through organising various courses and workshops to ensure that footballers are able to deliver their best on the pitch. It is necessary to expand this to skills and capabilities off the field as there comes a point in time when footballers have to start planning for life after football.
FAS Deputy President Bernard Tan giving his opening address
Speaking at the signing ceremony, FAS Deputy President Bernard Tan said: “As we sign the Memorandum of Understanding today, we hope to reinforce FAS’ commitment towards developing players’ capabilities on and off the field and encourage all players to plan for the future while still in the midst of their playing career. We want to ensure that footballers are able to deliver their best on the pitch, and this includes ensuring that they are aware of viable post-career options when they choose to hang up their boots.
“Through this partnership with PSB Academy, we hope to provide players a pathway for continuous learning – to enrich themselves on current industry trends and gain useful knowledge that would enhance their employability in the industry – while attaining academic qualifications at the same time.”
SPL and National Team player Fazrul Nawaz, who was also in attendance, said: “It definitely takes some dedication and discipline to be a student-athlete, to balance a professional football career and studies. No matter how we perform on the field, the support system we have is always important, and I am encouraged by FAS and PSB Academy’s efforts in trying to provide more athletes with opportunities to look beyond what we can do as footballers, to either train up a next generation of winners, or have the confidence to pick up on a new skill and hone it for our own future.”
Currently pursuing a Diploma in Sport and Exercise Sciences at the PSB Academy, Fazrul hopes his certification will provide him a good foundation to become a youth coach to football hopefuls.
Singapore Premier League players in attendance
Tampines Rovers FC defender Irfan Najeeb, believes that the partnership is a good initiative.
“I think it is good for footballers to have backup plans after their playing careers,” the 19-year-old said. “Careers might also be cut short by injuries and if this happens, then they have something to fall back on.
“These courses (offered under the partnership) are something I will consider because after I finish my National Service, I am looking to further my studies.”
Home United FC General Manager, Badri Ghent, concurred and described the partnership as “very meaningful”.
“It serves to provide players with opportunities they may not have had access to previously,” he said. “It is also good because FAS is looking at the longer-term picture with regards to players’ holistic development – this means not just as a player, but as an individual as well.
“Hopefully, they will benefit from this collaboration and come out to be contributing members of society.”
He added that the club will be looking at “actively pushing” suitable courses to the players, saying: “At Home United, we believe in not just the players’ careers now, but also their post-football careers and this is something that is very important to the club’s DNA.”
To enrich the academic development and learning experience of students, the FAS will be offering eligible students or graduates internship and industry visit opportunities. This will provide students with learning exposures in football, allow them to learn from industry experts and prepare them once they graduate.
Derrick Chang, CEO, PSB Academy, said: “We are renewing our commitment to developing future-ready talent for Singapore through the support of our local athletes today. We love what happens on the field, but want to focus on nurturing their skills off the field. On top of that, this partnership with FAS provides our students real opportunities to gaining exposure to the sports industry, and allow them to pursue career interests in this emerging arena. We appreciate that FAS shares the same dedication to youth development and open to training interns for the betterment of our sports associations—we hope that this transfusion of fresh blood will keep the spirit of innovation and improvement alive within the industry.”