SINGAPORE: Spectators will be allowed back into a stadium this weekend to watch a 'live' Singapore Premier League (SPL) game between league leaders Tampines Rovers and Geylang International, the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) announced on Wednesday (Dec 2).
"Following discussions with the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, Ministry of Health and Sport Singapore, a pilot test for one game will be conducted to ensure that the necessary logistical and movement protocols can be fully assessed and carried out smoothly," said FAS in a press release.
A maximum of 200 fans – 150 home and 50 away – will be allowed to watch the match on Saturday (Dec 5) from the stadium, subject to mandatory COVID-19 testing and safe-distancing protocols, added FAS.
This is the first time spectators will be allowed into stadiums for an SPL game since mid-March.
"The move to allow a limited number of spectators to be present at the stadium signals a progressive step towards having fans back at football matches again. This has been made possible due to the progress made by the SPL since its resumption on 17 October," said FAS.
"Comprehensive protocols that were established, including mandatory biweekly swab testing for all players and match officials, have helped the league to maintain zero positive COVID-19 cases since the restart."
Fans who wish to attend the match will need to purchase a ticket online via the FAS website.
These fans will also be required to undergo an antigen rapid test (ART) on-site at Our Tampines Hub when they arrive for the match.
There will be no cost for the COVID-19 test and fans would only need to produce proof of purchase of the match ticket and a corresponding form of identification.
Fans will be given a choice of predetermined time slots for the COVID-19 test, with the first timeslot at 2.15pm and the last one at 4.15pm.
Fans are advised to arrive at least 15 minutes before their designated time slot in order to facilitate a smooth procedure, added FAS.
Each test is expected to take about 30 minutes to process.
“The successful outcome of this test is critical for us to explore the possibility of having fans return to all stadium venues for the 2021 SPL season. While they have been able to follow the action through the ‘live’ broadcasts, nothing can replace the feeling of cheering your team on in the flesh from the stands," said FAS president Lim Kia Tong.
"Of course, it is imperative that they adhere strictly to all the necessary measures to ensure the safety of themselves and others present. The presence of supporters will also be a morale boost for the teams and players.”
Tampines Rovers currently sit top of the SPL table, one point ahead of Albirex Niigata. The Stags have two games left to play this season, with a game against Lion City Sailors on Wednesday followed by the eastern derby with Geylang International on Saturday.
Gavin Lee's side will clinch their first title since 2013 if they win both fixtures.