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GROUND // The Float at Marina Bay - Sport Singapore (Singapore - lost ground)

Updated: Dec 7, 2023

It's been a bit more quiet from our side lately. But that doesn't mean we were sitting on our butts. We've been very busy and it's our great pleasure to start a new chapter. A chapter which will take us on new adventures filled with special projects. One of the first of such projects took ut to Singapore. Get ready for chapter one of our Singapore trip.

This first chapter, we'd like to focus on the lost grounds in this Southeast Asian country and how they deal with the concept of abandoned stadiums. It's safe to say Singapore is a fairly young country. It's already long existing as an area, but most of their history they've been part of a bigger kingdom or territory. Undeniably, Singapore obviously has a very close connection with Malaysia, but the English dictated a lot of the course of their more modern history. Football was a part of that. Although the Singaporeans don't have a traditional sports culture, there still is a professional football league in the country.

In the past, Singapore football was part of the Malaysian competition structure. It wasn't until 1996 when they finally went live with their own competition. Lots of football stadiums were already existing, but having their own structure stimulated the construction of a lot more stadiums as well. Being a very small country and space being extremely scarce - and therefore also very expensive - the locals can't really afford having any lost grounds lying around. This is the reason why you'll only find one lost ground in the country and even that one won't be lost for a very long time. It is at the same time a very extraordinary one. Even before it became a lost ground, this was a unique piece of architecture.

Their former National Stadium was to be demolished and make way for a brand new sports centre. It was built in 1973 (not long after the independence) and was used frequently to also host concerts, bigger events and the National Day Parade. But in 2007 it was closed to be temporarily replaced by the Float at Marina Bay. This exceptional stadium was constructed in a clever way to host events like the National Day Parade and not take up too much space. The stand can hold 27k visitors and is overlooking an artificial pitch floating on the water. In between there's a passage way.

Although the new National Stadium was officially opened in 2014 already, The Float remained in used for bigger events and especially the National Day Parade became a returning event. Football didn't take up the most events, although football has been played here. Mainly amateur games though. The 2008 cup final was scheduled to be played on The Float, but concerns on lighting and broadcasting made the Singapore FA move the cup final to a different stadium.

In 2017 the government decided to redevelop the area instead of demolishing it again. First plans were made in 2020 and the new NS Square was set to be born. Covid-19 delayed the whole process, but eventually demolition works started in 2023. The goal is to have the NS Square (with a new stand and facilities for bigger events) ready by 2026, but when we visited in September The Float was still more or less in its original state. We do believe however these will be the last weeks, if you're not already too late.

Only one lost ground in Singapore, but when walking around it seemed there was a football stadium in almost every corner. Our interesting journey is far from being over and over the next couple of weeks we'll take you on three more chapters. We hope you enjoy the ride together with us... And as usual, you can read our articles in Dutch here.


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