Pay to play


  • There is loads of money in sports, but where is it distributed?
  • “Minority” sports should not face funding discrimination

So besides the talk of bus drivers and striking, recent news has also been on OCBC’s possible acquisition of the naming rights for the new sports hub. I know from sources that while this is more or less in the bag, you need to wonder where all the money is going to.


Show me the money?

Open today’s edition of the TODAY newspaper and you will see what I mean. The Singapore Floorballers have to dig into their own pockets ( to compete in what is effectively their world championships. The Singapore Sports Conucil’s tiered support system means that they grade sports based on medal potential mainly, and other things such as development and participation secondary. Floorball is graded pretty low on the tier, and only get the bare minimum. Thats to run the sports association, not for this trip. Singapore Floorball did try to raise $20,000, with Sports Council promising to match dollar for dollar, but they did not meet the target, and now everyone has to pay, and the team manager is even forking out for some of the players.


I get where Singapore Sports Council is coming from really. You can’t just be the golden pot of dosh open to all sports associations, you need to earn the cash, and you need to show that you are doing something.

I get that.

What I don’t get is the fact that there are so many ‘minority’ sports that are having the opportunity to go to their respective world championships, and are doing well when they eventually get there. There are numerous other stories of how passionate ‘9-5’ atheletes (I call them that because they actually work 9 – 5 jobs) have to pay their way up to represent the country. Touch Rugby Singapore was in the same boat for their World Championships last year. The sport is not even officially recognize by the Singapore Sports Council, and each player had to pay about $5000 to go up and play for Singapore in Scotland last year. The men came back 5th in the world, and the women were number two. It’s an achievement, but did you notice?


My point is this. When a representative team goes to competitions, they represent Singapore and the country, no matter if its playing marbles or playing football. I know we keep on saying that Singapore has limited resources, but you really have to be a little more practical. There are about 40 sports associations in Singapore. If you gave $100,000 to each of them, thats $4 Million. This seed money would make sports associations value the support, and not make it such a chore to get support to represent their country. These men and women already spend their own time and money to train and play for the country, the least we could do is support them right? Sport does not descriminate. End of the day if you play a sport, you are part of a wider tribe. Sport is about passion, and sports business is about making money from that passion. You need one to start the other not the other way around.


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