Football Association of Singapore’s (FAS) decision to play the Singapore Cup on Deepavali has drawn sharp criticisms from some enthusiasts and fans. The RHB Singapore Cup 2016 which was originally scheduled for 4 Nov was preponed to 29 Oct because of training requests by the Lions. Deepavali is a religious celebration for Hindus and it is the only gazetted holiday for Hindus in Singapore.
Veteran sport journalist, Suresh Nair, who first highlighted when the game will be played asked, “is football is more important than the Hindus’ most sacred, and only, public holiday?”
“Will FAS ever play a big professional football match on Chinese New Year or Hari Raya Puasa?”, Mr Nair expressed his frustrations in saying that FAS has “absolutely no serious or sincere consideration or respect to a multi-racial, mutually respectful, Singapore.”
Mr Alfred Dodwell, legal adviser to Gymkhana FC said that “It’s highly insensitive to have a high profile game like this on Deepavali day.”
“Considering the Chairman of Tampines Rovers Krishna Ramachandra is probably Hindu, it makes it plainly wrong,” he added and asked, “what about the fans who are Hindu, is this expected to be a non-Indian attendance event?”
Lim Chin, S-League Chief Executive Officer, clarified with Mr Nair about why the game had to be preponed and said that he hopes there will be a befitting “Celebration of Lights” at the Singapore Cup final.
The game on Deepavali day will be played between Albirex Niigata and Tampines Rovers at 8pm at the Jalan Besar Stadium.