S.League – Singapore’s first professional soccer league – was initiated following the decision by the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) to withdraw from the Malaysian Premier League and the Malaysia Cup in 1995. The FAS felt that the long-term interests of the sport in Singapore would be better served by developing its own national soccer league. The S.League was officially launched by then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong to a 50,000-strong crowd at the National Stadium on 14 April 1996.
A total of eight football clubs (FCs) were selected for the inaugural season: Balestier Central FC, Geylang United FC, Police FC, Tampines Rovers FC, Sembawang Rangers FC, Singapore Armed Forces FC (SAFFC), Tiong Bahru United FC and Woodlands Wellington FC. The teams competed in a two-series competition format – the Tiger Beer Series A and the Pioneer Series B. Geylang United FC emerged champion in the S.League's first year.
In 1997 the following year, the two-series competition format was replaced by a single series to more effectively sustain the momentum and interest of the clubs and fans. SAFFC won the league in the second year. It is the most successful club to date, with eight league titles under its belt and the most number of consecutive wins – from 2006 to 2009.
1. Dorai, J. (1995, March 30). It’s the S’pore soccer league. The Straits Times, p. 31. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
2. Khoo, P. (1995, February 23). S’pore out of Malaysia Cup. The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. Tay, C. K. (1996, April 15). PM kicks off S’pore’s pro-soccer league. The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4. Tay, C. K. (1995, August 13). Two surprises as selectors name S-League’s eight clubs. The Straits Times, p. 30. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
5. Tay, C. K. (1996, March 23). Sponsors give S-League a Tiger. The Straits Times, p. 39; Tay, C.K. (1996, April 20). Pheeee…let the soccer show begin. The Straits Times, p. 39; Dorai, J. (1996, July 5). Pioneer Electronics is Series B’s top sponsor. The Straits Times, p. 61. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
6. Geylang wins S-League’s championship match. (1996, November 10). The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
7. Dorai, J. (1996, October 16). Clubs want a one series format. The Straits Times, p. 31; Murali, S. (1996, November 2). S.League: Major changes next season. The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. Singh, S. (1997, July 9). Warriors are deserving champions. The Straits Times, p. 42. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. Wang, M. M. (2009, August 21). SAFFC ahead of a pack of inconsistent challengers. The Straits Times, p. 43. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; S.League. (n.d.). S.League overview. Retrieved September 18, 2014, from S.League website: http://www.sleague.com/competitions/s-league/overview
The information in this article is valid as at 2014 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.