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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

S.League 'deep freeze' makes no sense says ex-Tampines boss Krishna

Jason Dasey and John Wilkinson mull over the implications should the S.League take a one-year break in 2018.

Bringing a temporary end to the S.League would be disastrous for Singapore football, according to former Tampines Rovers chairman Krishna Ramachandra.

Krishna, who left the Stags in August, was the man who brought ex-Liverpool winger Jermaine Pennant to the S.League in 2016, and made former Reds' manager Gerard Houllier the club's ambassador.

The S.League is set to see its S$16 million annual funding from the Tote Board cut in half for 2018. But Krishna says pausing Singapore's only professional sports competition isn't the answer.

"If we stop the league, it's like bringing a freight train to a complete stop -- you lose all momentum that you had before, and it will take a big effort to get it going again," Krishna told The New Paper.

"Stopping it completely will have a huge impact on the viability of the league going forward. Also, there are livelihoods at stake here, even the grassroots ecosystem of football. Livelihoods cannot afford to go into deep freeze indefinitely."

Tampines chairman Krishna Ramachandra
Krishna, right, made the bold signing of ex-Liverpool winger Jermaine Pennant in January 2016.

No announcement has been made about whether the S.League will be held in 2018. There have been suggestions that a one-year hiatus will allow administrators to re-think its structure and look for more commercial support.

But 45-year-old Krishna, a successful lawyer who saw Tampines Rovers finish just a point behind champions Albirex Niigata (S) in 2016, says the S.League must continue as Football Association of Singapore (FAS) looks for solutions.

"It will sound trite but we simply need to pay more attention to a collective vision and strategy, put in place commercially viable initiatives, there will then be a greater buy-in from stakeholders," he said.

"My personal view is that the league must go on in some form. If it has to go on life support, the nature of that life support is important -- a fresh start could still be had even while on life support."

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