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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Tampines Rovers boss Jurgen Raab calls for 'Singapore-only' S.League

Jason Dasey and John Wilkinson mull over the implications should the S.League take a one-year break in 2018.
Jason Dasey speaks with Home United head coach Aidil Sharin ahead of their match against in-form Geylang.

Tampines Rovers head coach Jurgen Raab has called for an S.League with only Singaporean clubs, which would mean no place for the likes of reigning champions Albirex Niigata (S) and 2015 winners Brunei DPMM.

In a blistering interview after the Stags' 1-1 draw with Warriors FC on Wednesday night, the outspoken German also blasted plans to cut back on funding to football, and criticised the state of two S.League pitches.

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"For me, it's about more money into football, with eight proper clubs, no Albirex, no DPMM, no [Garena] Young Lions," Raab said.

"We need money for football and facilities, so having Our Tampines Hub is a good start. If not, we cannot complain why our football is like this.

"We have nice buildings for tourists, but we have to recognise football gives the country repute. If you look at the pitches at Toa Payoh or [Tampines former temporary home ground] Jurong West, they're not football."

Raab admitted that the speculation over the future of the S.League, including talk of a one-year hiatus so that Singapore's only professional competition could regroup, created an uncertain atmosphere around local football.

Tampines coach Jurgen Raab
Jurgen Raab says it would be a grave mistake to cut funding for Singapore football.

"The discussion for next season cannot start until we know about the budget for next year," he said. "I don't understand this idea from SportSG that you cut the money for football. If we do this, we finish and we might as well play amateur."

Tampines remain in second spot on the S.League table after Hafiz Sujad's first-half goal was cancelled out by a 58th minute equaliser from the penalty spot by Shahril Ishak, of Warriors FC. 

Raab also blasted the scheduling that sees the 2016 runners up play four games in 12 days, hinting that Home United have received preferential treatment from administrators.

"We're the only team to play two times with two days' recovery. Why're we playing today when we played on Sunday and Warriors played on Friday? It's not fair," Raab said.

"The fixtures are planned a year ago and there must be some explanation for this. Then, Home United get to postpone, and postpone their games for the AFC Cup games. That's unfair."

Home United, who play Geylang International at Jalan Besar Stadium on Saturday, are seven points behind Tampines in third spot, with three games in hand.

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