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Football: Security tight at Jalan Besar Stadium for MSL clash

Security was tight at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Saturday ahead of and during the Malaysian Super League match between the LionsXII and ATM.

SINGAPORE: Security was tight at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Saturday ahead of and during the Malaysian Super League match between the LionsXII and ATM.

The stricter enforcement came after five Malaysian fans were arrested, and later released on bail, for alleged unruly behaviour on Tuesday.

Security officers moved like clockwork from the moment buses ferrying visiting fans from Malaysia arrived.

The atmosphere was relaxed as about 100 of them were led to a waiting area.

Then about 45 minutes before kick-off, they were systematically allowed into the stadium, but not before stringent checks.

Channel NewsAsia spotted about 20 security officers manning the away entrance.

It's understood that this level of security is no different from other regular matches.

To prevent disturbances, the away fans are kept apart from the local support. They even have a special entrance with which to enter the Jalan Besar Stadium. When they arrive, security officers check their bodies and belongings for suspicious articles

"It takes time to enter the stadium due to the tightness of security; but it's not a problem" said Mazuan Abdullah, an ATM fan. "It's a number one protocol for Singapore attendance."

Earlier this week, a number of Johor Darul Takzim fans were denied entry into the stadium, because they did not hold tickets that were allotted to away supporters.

Five were arrested for being unruly.

Local fans say such incidents can be avoided if a compromise is reached on ticket allocation, especially for high-profile matches.

"They are allotted 120 tickets," said Akbar Hashim, a LionsXII fan. "So maybe that could be increased to 200 tickets, with an official announcement in the media announcing the allocation."

In a statement after Tuesday's incident, the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) said, "The safety of our fans is of paramount importance."

It will continue to work closely with authorities to ensure this during matches.

Meanwhile, the LionsXII bounced back from their midweek defeat to Johor Darul Takzim to register a 2-1 win against ATM.

First half goals from Khairul Amri and Zulfahmi Arifin gave the Singapore side a flying start before ATM pegged a goal back in the 77th minute.

The win ended a three-game losing streak for the LionsXII.  

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