[Photo by Michelle Cortes]
The Loyola Meralco Sparks will be competing in the prestigious Singapore Cup that kicks off this May 14, 2012 in Singapore. The Football Association of Singapore extended the invitation to the Sparks after they topped the first round of the United Football League.
It was only in recent years where foreign clubs were invited to participate. Thai clubs have done well in the competition with Bangkok Glass FC beating Tampines Rovers 1-0 in 2010.
The Singapore Cup is a four-stage tournament with the preliminary round a single leg competition from May 14-21. Should Loyola win its preliminary round match and qualify for the two-legged quarterfinals, the team will be required to return to Singapore to play both legs. Should the club make it to the semifinals, the same will apply. The final will be played on Sunday, October 28, 2012.
The Singapore Cup champion will receive Singapore $80,000 while the first, second, and third runners-up will receive $40,000, $20,000., and $10,000 respectively.
Losing quarterfinalists will each receive $4,000 and the preliminary round losers $2,000.
The Football Association of Singapore has sent the official invitation to the Philippine Football Federation for endorsement.
“This is a big step for not just Loyola but also for the UFL and Philippine football in general because this is the first time a Philippine team is being invited to this tournament,” said the Sparks’ president Randy Roxas. “We hope to do well in this competition because it validates what the UFL has been trying to do – professionalize Philippine football.”
The tournament rules state that clubs may only list four foreigners in their lineup.