Singapore: the opportunities & challenges facing an emerging sports law jurisdiction

Signapore Marinabay
By Chui Ling Goh (Ling)

In the world of sports law, Singapore may (unfortunately) be best known for being the home of ‘the world’s most notorious match-fixing syndicate’,[1] led by Dan Tan, Wilson Raj Perumal, and other associates, who were finally arrested in 2014 just before the start of the World Cup. Thankfully, however, there is far more to Singapore’s emerging sports industry than that.  After winning its first gold medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in swimming (with Joseph Schooling pipping Michael Phelps[2]) Singapore sought to establish itself as a sporting nation to try to rival its own achievements as “the world’s most competitive economy” and one of the world’s safest cities.[3]

This article provides an introduction to Singapore’s sport industry, with a particular focus on the governance and legal challenges that it faces.  Specifically, it looks at:

  • The administrative structure
  • Sports budgets
  • Sports initiatives and Vision 2030
  • Personal and socio-economic obstacles to participation
  • The need for better governance
  • The need for improved sports tribunals

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About the Author

Chui Ling Goh (Ling)

Chui Ling Goh (Ling)

Chui Ling Goh (Ling) is an advocate and solicitor in Singapore, who specialises in sports law and policy work. She is a published author in journals such as International Sports Law Journal, and co-authored sports policy work with Professional Football Association. Ling has professionally advised national sporting organisations and companies on their legal and policy issues, such as governance and employment. She presently sits on the board of Singapore’s only sports charity, Chiam See Tong Sports Fund, and Singapore Cycling Federation’s Athlete Appeals Committee.

Ling graduated with a L.L.B. (Hons) from National University of Singapore in 2016, and is presently completing her L.L.M. in University of Melbourne, with special focus on sports law and policy. Prior to commencing her L.L.M. in 2019, Ling was working in a boutique firm which specialises in criminal and sports law.

Apart from her professional endeavours, Ling is Singapore’s top national middle distance runner, and has represented Singapore in numerous major games, such as Asian Games, Asian Athletics Championship, and South-East Asian Games. 

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