By Gabriel Tan
In a press conference at the association's headquarters at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Tuesday, S.League CEO Lim Chin revealed Singapore's top flight will only be contested by 12 teams next season, after Gombak United, who finished ninth this year, confirmed they will be pulling out for at least a year due to financial worries.
The teams will play one another one a home-and-away basis, as they did this year, but following those 22 matches, the table will be split into half, where the top six and bottom six will then play each another once more to decide the final standings.
This has raised the possibility of the seventh-placed team ending the two-and-a-half rounds of fixtures with more points than the sixth-placed team, but still be consigned to a bottom-half finish.
S.League clubs will now be allowed to sign five foreign players, including a "star player" similar to the marquee player rule that exists in the Major League Soccer in the United States, as well as Australia's Hyundai A-League.
In addition, the S.League have declared they willl be providing clubs who manage to nab a famous name as their "star player" with financial support in terms of wages.
The beep test, the league's mandatory fitness test that all outfield players were required to pass, has now been replaced by a 2.4 km run. All players will need to pass the test to be eligible to play, although goalkeepers will have a different passing mark.
Finally, the FAS did announce the prize money for the 2013 season has been raised. This year's champions Tampines Rovers picked up S$150,000 but their successors next year will stand to bag a S$250,000 paycheck.