Domestic Competitions ● Mar 19, 2018
Local Clubs Aspire to Raise Match-Day Standards
AFC and FIFA standards shared at first ever course for key match-day personnel to encourage progress in Singapore game
SINGAPORE, 19 MARCH 2018: With a ball and a chair in hand, the 12 ball-kids jogged to their respective positions around the Jalan Besar Stadium pitch.
But these were no ordinary ball-kids; rather, they were representatives of the nine league clubs who were trying their hands at being a ball-kid for the first time.
The role-play was part of the practical session of the first ever Club General Coordinator/ Media Officer/ Security Officer (GC/MO/SO) Seminar held for Singapore‚Äôs professional clubs, which was held over the weekend.
Organised by the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) in conjunction with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), the course was conducted by Mr Jeysing Muthiah, a highly experienced AFC Match Commissioner.
Aimed at raising the standards of local match-day organisation, the course saw 28 participants spend both days learning about the match-day responsibilities of each of the three roles.
Participants measuring the height of the corner flag
These included match inspection duties, ball-kid responsibilities, best practices and handling of various match scenarios, medical and security aspects – with real incidents serving as case studies for participants to discuss and debate.
Apart from spending time in a classroom, the group of 28 also spent time role-playing as match officials, players, photo marshals, flag-bearers and announcers in a bid to better understand the intricacies of a typical pre-match ceremony.
While the standards discussed were those of AFC and FIFA levels, staff from FAS’ Competitions Department were on hand to impart local context to proceedings. This also allowed open dialogue between the clubs and FAS over how the practices discussed could be adapted for the local teams.
Participants found it helpful to learn about the standards required at the highest levels and indicated they served as a benchmark for local clubs to aspire towards.
“It was definitely helpful that they localised it…with all the expertise of the people (from FAS) who actually work on the ground here,” noted Hougang United FC Marketing Manager and Club MO Nicholas Low. “I will definitely be doing things differently from now on and be more mindful of how we organise matches and keep standards high.”
“Nothing is perfect and our league is evolving, so slight changes have to be done to customise it to our local league,” added Warriors FC Club GC Carree Lim. “(But) the reason why we are working in football is because of our passion for the game, so it’s good to educate us about (how things are done at a higher level… it broadened our horizons. We’ll try our best to improve and reach higher standards from now on.”
Sunny Lee, who has been contributing as a volunteer in various capacities at Young Lions and Singapore National Team matches, appreciated having the opportunity to understand the three roles.
“It gives everyone a good overview of match-day operations and it’s something we can apply for the league going forward,” he said, having attended the course as a GC. “If we want to move forward, it’s about time we move up our standards and levels in terms of the way we organise matches. We cannot do things the way we’ve done in the past.”
Mr Jeysing, who had conducted the first-ever Match Commissioner course at the same venue a week ago, challenged the clubs to raise their game.
“I think in terms of the clubs, you already have a good foundation,” he told a Channel NewsAsia crew that had come down to report on the course. “For them, they have to focus more on capacity-building for human resources and a bit of modernisation for football in general, with the online streaming and the new Competition Management System that FAS is going to implement. So they have to come on board and step up to the next level.
“I think once you have strong clubs, you will have a good league and this will in turn produce a strong national team. In my opinion, based on the current new leadership under FAS President Mr Lim Kia Tong and his ExCo, with Mr Yazeen Buhari as the Acting General Secretary, I think the implementation process will go very well because they have been very proactive in organising such a course for the first time after 10 years.”
ALL ON BOARD
Mr Yazeen asserted it was “critical” that clubs are aligned with the AFC requirements and standards, adding that while it may take “some time and resources” to do so, FAS will support the clubs in their quest to improve.
“When we rolled out the (league) revamp on 18th December last year, we based it on a few pillars and capability development was one of them,” he said. “Courses like these are part of it… Apart from that, we’ve also done an IT audit of the clubs to see where we are, how we can progress and assist (them). There have been some activities planned in order to enhance, for example, the stadiums’ capabilities both in terms of software and hardware. It is a long-term project, we are glad that we have kick-started it and it’s on track, and we are very appreciative of the clubs wanting to be part of this project as well.”
It was not all work and no play for the participants as plenty of good-natured banter was traded over the two days, and all hoped that such courses will be regularly conducted in future.
“The course is very enriching and it’s good… that we know more about the intricate workings behind the organising of matches,” noted Ms Lim. “I think it’s a good initiative and should be carried on, be it as a refresher course or for new participants.”
Azhari Shafif, who attended as a SO and has been involved in match-day security for over 30 years, concurred: “We shared good processes amongst us, which are of AFC standards and it’s good to know what each other does on the ground as it makes it easier for everyone to work together. This is my first time learning from an overseas instructor and what I learned will aid me in helping to make match-day operations better.”
Mr Low concluded: “It’s very enjoyable, the instructor is very knowledgeable and the class was extremely fun to be in!”