New Singapore pre-season cup for S.League clubs

The inaugural SingTel League Cup tournament, which kicks off on 15 February will see eight S.League teams - Sengkang Punggol, Balestier Khalsa, Gombak United, Albirex Niigata FC, Korean Super Reds, Woodlands Wellington, Tampines Rovers and Home United - compete for the gleaming new Japanese-designed trophy and a total cash prize of S$35,000. The cup winner will walk away with a prize cheque of S$20,000 with the runners-up and second runners-up taking home cash prizes of S$10,000 and S$5,000 respectively. The semi-finals will take place on 20 and 21 February with the grand final scheduled to take place on Sunday 25 February at the Jalan Besar Stadium.

"This is not merely a pre-season tournament," said Winston Lee, Chief Executive Officer, S.League. "It is another important tournament in the (local football) calendar and will also give the fans a chance to watch their favourite players and teams in action. We are delighted that SingTel have come onboard as the title sponsors of the League Cup."

Four S.League sides, SAFFC, Young Lions, Geylang United and Liaoning, have chosen to opt out of the tournament due to their pre-season commitments, said Football Association of Singapore Director of Competitions Quah Kim Song. But he also expressed hope that the competition "will expand and include all twelve clubs" in next year's edition. "We had originally wanted this to start in 2008 but with SingTel's generous backing and support, we were able to push the launch forward to this year. We hope this will continue to be a regular fixture in the local football calendar," he told the competition's website.

"SingTel is proud to bring this inaugural football to Singapore's vibrant football scene," said Quek Peck Leng, SingTel Executive Vice President of Consumer. "Through interactive technology sich as 3G and mobile blogging, SingTel has allowed fans to get closer to their favourite players and clubs. It therefore is a natural progression for us to introduce the SingTel League Cup to local football fans."