Speech by Mr Zainudin Nordin at the MOU signing ceremony between FAS and J.League
MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING
BETWEEN FOOTBALL ASSOCIAION OF SINGAPORE AND
JAPAN PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE
WEDNESDAY, 5 JUNE 2013, 6PM
LEVEL 2, BOARDROOM, JALAN BESAR STADIUM
SPEECH BY MR ZAINUDIN NORDIN
PRESIDENT, FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION OF SINGAPORE
Mr Kazumi Ohigashi
Mr Winston Lee
General Secretary, Football Association of Singapore
Mr Lim Chin
Chief Executive Officer, S.League
Friends from the media
Ladies and gentlemen
1. A very good evening to all of you. First, I would like to extend my warmest welcome to Mr Kazumi Ohigashi, chairman of the J.League and his senior management, to Singapore.
2. The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) is especially pleased and privileged to have the opportunity to embark on a football partnership with J.League and we appreciate that all of you took time to be here with us this evening for this momentous occasion.
Objectives of the MOU
3. We will be signing an agreement with J.League, which I believe, will greatly complement our on-going footballing programmes and initiatives. J.League is one of the top professional leagues in Asia. It is also worth noting that Japan’s National Football Team is currently the highest-ranked Asian team in FIFA’s latest world rankings.
4. Youth development is a key priority for Singapore and we are especially happy to work with the J.League which is renowned for providing local young players a perfect setting to emerge and develop. As you are aware, a number of growing starlets came through the ranks, including Keisuke Honda, Makoto Hasebe and Shinji Kagawa, who became idols and football ambassadors for their respective clubs before earning high-profile moves to Europe.
5. We will be sending our youth players for overseas attachments with J.League’s Division 1 clubs’ football academies, which we believe will benefit our players in many ways – in line with our Strategic Plan to further develop their footballing capabilities. We will also be exploring opportunities to bring J.League’s Division 1 clubs’ youth teams to play friendly games against our youth teams in Singapore, and vice-versa.
6. In addition, joint training camps for our youth teams will also be conducted in both Singapore and Japan, as we believe such training camps will provide both Singaporean and Japanese youth players a new experience and the necessary exposure to facilitate their development.
Japanese and Singapore’s local clubs for friendly games
7. As you may have known, we have in the S.League a Japanese team Albirex Niigata who have received tremendous support from the fans, media and other stakeholders including our local clubs since they joined the S.League in 2004. This is their 10th season in our professional league and we are especially pleased with their contributions to the development and growth of the S.League. Going forward, we will be working to bring J.League’s Division 1 clubs to play against our local clubs or to participate in tournaments involving our local clubs. Our fans can also look forward to matches between Japanese and local clubs. We are also keen to send local clubs to play friendly games against J.League clubs in Japan, to provide the necessary competitive and international match exposure for our players.
8. In addition, we will place promising local players on attachment stints at J.League clubs. Likewise, we hope to see more Japanese players plying their trade in the S.League.
Cooperation and partnerships, CSR activities
9. Under the terms of the MOU, the S.League and the J.League agree to promote and develop football for mutual benefits and to use football as a vehicle to enhance the bilateral relations and cooperation between us both. We will be working together with J.League to conduct Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR) activities in Singapore, such as visits to children’s homes and organising football clinics for the underprivileged for example. We also seek to foster the development of Singapore’s sporting culture, and to contribute to the international friendship and exchange between Singapore and Japan through the S.League and J.League clubs.
Exchange and attachment programmes
10. We will work to bring in an experienced coaching instructor who can impart their knowledge to mentor and guide our youth coaches. We will also explore opportunities for our youth coaches and staff from sports science and medicine, competitions management, and marketing and communications to be placed on exchange programmes, or to be attached to J.League to work on various projects.
11. As coaching education is one of the key components of our Strategic Plan, we will be exploring opportunities for our top coaches, who hold the AFC Pro Diploma or AFC ‘A’ Licence, to be placed on attachment stints at either youth or senior levels with the J.League clubs. Similarly, we will arrange for J.League’s instructors and management staff to conduct football clinics and seminars in Singapore, including the know-how concerning professional league and club management, which will greatly enhance the knowledge and capabilities of our footballing family, including coaches, players, referees, and even administration staff.
12. Our referees have officiated at the highest levels, and moving forward, we will explore opportunities for our referees to officiate in J.League Division 1’s matches. We believe this will benefit our referees and expand their expertise and knowledge.
13. We are also working to provide opportunities for our staff members to be attached to the J.League – with the aim of learning and adopting best practices and acquiring the necessary expertise and knowledge to boost the professionalism and standards of Singapore football, both on and off the pitch.
Promotion of J.League and S.League games on social media
14. To provide further support to J.League and extend the exposure of Japanese football among fans in Singapore, we will work to gain the rights to broadcast J.League matches and highlights on our respective platforms. At the same time, we are pleased to share with you that the J.League can broadcast S.League matches involving Albirex Niigata (Singapore) on its website and other social media platforms.
Sharing expertise on combating match-fixing
15. As you are aware, several organisations, including the AFC and Interpol, have commended us for our commitment and efficiency in fighting match-fixing, which has become a global scourge. We will share our expertise on tackling match fixing with our counterparts in Japan and we will be working closely together to study ways to further combat this problem, from and within the game.
MOU in line with FAS Strategic Plan
16. The signing of this MOU is in line with our Strategic Plan, to develop and enhance the capacities and capabilities of our players, coaches, administrators and referees, among others, by sending them for overseas attachments among other footballing programmes and initiatives. In this regard, we believe we can tap on the expertise of the J.League to bring Singapore football to the next level.
17. While we are encouraged by Fifa’s assessment and comments that we have progressed well in the implementation of the FAS Strategic Plan, including youth development, there remains much hard work ahead. I would also like to take this opportunity to call upon our stakeholders to continue to work with us to raise the standards of football in Singapore.
18. In conclusion, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Mr Kazumi Ohigashi and his team for taking time to travel to Singapore. We have always had a strong relationship with our friends in Japan. As some of you may recall, the then-chairman of the J.League, Mr Saburo Kawabuchi, who is now JFA Honorary President, served as our adviser back in 1995 – a year before the launch of our own S.League.
19. We are pleased to embark on this collaborative partnership with the J.League and we look forward to a long and fruitful collaboration between both sides.
On this note, I wish everyone a great evening ahead.