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BLOG: When Grassroots is Not Grassroots

Posted on March 27, 2017 at 10:35 PM

By Ian Morris

The following is an unedited version of an article published on the Forum, The Straits Times on Thursday, 23rd March 2017.

Following the welcomed disturbance to the long entrenched status quo in Singapore football in recent times, leading up to the impending elections in the FAS, the word, “Grassroots”, has been often mentioned, at times out of convenience, or as an opportuneness mantra to drum up support to a seemly noble concern of the state of affairs for the nation’s most popular sport.

While the elections and the resultant involuntary pressure for change has been forced by the FIFA Article 17, the word grassroots has been lost in translation in most quarters.

For most of the “official” footballing fraternity here, grassroots end at the NFL level, a notion amplified by Mr Wang Meng Meng when he wrote, “This makes the grassroots of local football the key battleground for the historic polls” (Straits Times, Tuesday, 21 March 2017), making reference to the NFL clubs who are counted by canvassing aspirants in their ballot chase.

Although, all may be theoretically right in their assumption of the term, which means, “the most basic level of an activity or organisation”, the real grassroots of Singapore football are the hundreds who play the game they love every weekend, the masses of ordinary people, regardless of race, age and even gender, who are all too often neglected by the so called “Fraternity”, who pathetically look to these very people to support their lassitude S-League and national team, while wallowing in delusional doldrums.

The real grassroots are the people who would sacrifice time and effort to turn up at pitches all across the island, rain or shine, to get their fix of the Beautiful Game.

The passion of these, untainted by pursuits of fame or fortune.

Often we hear of the echelon complain about the lack of talent, but I would beg to differ, because this is the pool where the raw talents are, and not the within the manufactured assembly of a system that has failed within its core.

If you do not believe, just ask the greats of Singapore football where they started their passion and foundations from.

It is therefore time to break the floor on the misguided concept, and return to the REAL grassroots of Singapore football, and not in the profit making foreign academies, the COEs, NFL or the Prime League.

Please return Singapore football to the people who love it most.


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