Malaysian budget carrier Air Asia has announced a three-year sponsorship deal with the Football Association of Singapore (FAS), worth S$1.8 million (US$1.4 million), reports www.sportspromedia.com/. The sponsorship means Air Asia will provide travel for Singapore's under-21, under-23 and senior national teams, as well as the National Football Academy's age-group teams and women's teams.
It is hoped the partnership will further strengthen the Singapore national team after their triumph in the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup campaign.
FAS president Zainudin Nordin said in a statement: "We are really thankful to Tan Sri Tony Fernandes and AirAsia for their staunch support for football and we are looking forward to working closely with them to further promote the sport in the coming years.
"It is a positive thing for us, because Air Asia and Mr. Fernandes are supporting youth, and sports in particular."
Tony Fernandes, who also owns Championship side Queens Park Rangers, has come under criticism in his native Malaysia for supporting the rival Singapore squad.
However he showed few qualms saying: "The reason I got involved was [because of] the passion shown by the FAS. I looked at the fact that we could help a group of guys who were very passionate about local football.
"It also shows that we are not just Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia; we really see ourselves as Asean and I am a big believer in Asean."
Fernandes also reiterated his allegiance to soccer rather than one team or nationality. "Football is very passionate; I am a West Ham supporter and I ended up buying QPR!" he pointed out.
"Of course there will be some people who say I am from Malaysia [but] I think FAS came up with a great proposal and I like what they are doing with the youth. There are going to be negatives and sceptics, but who cares?"