As La Liga's regional hub office at the National Gallery in Singapore was unveiled yesterday, the league's president Javier Tebas hinted that top clubs from Spain will come to Singapore to battle against S.League sides next summer.
Singapore has thus become the fourth Asian country, after China, India and Dubai, to have a regional hub of the Spanish league. Notably, the move comes as part of La Liga's effort to popularise the league in Southeast Asia.
La Liga clubs, apart from the International Champions Cup (ICC), have been playing in Asia, America and Africa as part LFP World Challenge initiative. The inaugural edition of the tour in 2014 saw Sevilla travel to Indonesia and Malaysia to take on local teams Madura United and Selangor FA, respectively and the likes of San Francisco, Orlando and Adelaide have hosted La Liga sides in the past.
Tebas revealed that the league is looking at Asia as a very important market and that they are looking to find ways to connect with the fans in this part of the globe. He maintained that bringing La Liga clubs to Singapore next summer is part of their primary plan.
"In this part of the world, more that 55 per cent of the world's population lives here. It would be a mistake in our strategy if we don't reach out to the people in Asia," Tebas said, as quoted by Channel News Asia.
"We'll definitely be looking into bringing in some of the clubs here for exhibition matches next summer in 2018, as it part of our strategy for growth here."
While a Singapore Select team, involving big local names and imports from S.League sides, was assembled for taking on Arsenal, Everton and Stoke City during Premier League Asia Trophy in 2015 at the National Stadium, Football Association of Singapore (FAS) provisional council president Lim Kia Tong has insisted that it is time for local sides to go out on their own and take on the high-profile Spanish side, if the move materialises.
"I think it is about time our S.League clubs take on the challenge, rather than have an S.League Selection. Having a Selection team is tantamount to saying our whole league cannot mount a challenge against these teams," Tong opined, as quoted by The New Paper.
"(Local clubs) have put in a lot of effort to get to a certain standard, and to meet a high- level club from Spain, for example, I think that will be a good signal for the S.League."
Nonetheless, football fans in the Republic are set to witness top sides from across the globe at the National Stadium in the coming months as the Lion City will host the ICC for four years, starting July 2017, in which European giants Chelsea, Bayern Munich and Inter Milan will feature.