Lionel Lewis calls for Players Union in Singapore

Former national goalkeeper Lionel Lewis has renewed calls for a players union in Singapore, stating that the lack of a safety net is preventing players from seeking playing opportunities overseas.

Lewis memorably had trials at Manchester City and Swiss club Grasshopper CZ, but ultimately spent his whole career in Singapore.

"The main thing is nothing is certain for us as most clubs in Singapore will terminate your contract if you want to go overseas," he said.

"It's not good in the sense that if you can't get a contract outside Singapore, you'll be out of a club and most of us have got families to feed."

The 31-year-old retired from professional football last year but believes that a players union would help give local footballers peace of mind, and encourage more of them to try their luck in Europe and beyond.

"It'll be great to have a players union in Singapore like the PFA in the UK," Lewis said.

"At least it'll allow players to explore options and know they have a club to come back to if they don't make it."

The ex-Home United No. 1 suggested that the Football Association of Singapore had a part to play, and that planning for a player's future after football would only aid the growth of the sport in the country.

"I think the FA needs to sit down with players and discuss how they can help them after their football career ends," he said.

"It's very important because a sports career is short, [and I was lucky] I planned my own career path instead of waiting for them. Another option is coaching but everybody wants to be a coach. There are 400 players playing in the league, that gives us 400 coaches for only ten to 12 clubs.

"We need to have proper plans ahead for players and for parents to support them. At least this way, more youngsters will come up and say, 'Okay, I'll try football. If I don't make it there will be another avenue for me to move.'"