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The event in its second year drew a full-house at Jalan Besar Stadium as corporate teams took part to raise money for charities

Jalan Besar Stadium was packed to overflowing all day on Saturday, August 24, as players from companies Singapore-wide flocked to the Football With A Heart Executive Football Tournament.

The competition is intended to raise funds for a collection of nine charities, and this year's tournament had already surpassed the target of S$400,000 with the final tally expected to be announced on August 28.

Over 700 players representing their business organisations rallied to the cause, having loads of fun as they competed in 5-a-side matches on five mini pitches spread across the width of the synthetic Jalan Besar Stadium turf.

Co-organised by Singapore Pools, Singapore Sports Council and the Football Association of Singapore (FAS), the day went off like clockwork, with the three Finals for the business houses, the Cup, the Bowl and the Plate, all being decided by around 7pm.

There was also a Celebrity Leagues competition, featuring Parliamentarians, Team Expats, Team Public Service and Entrepeneurs United, which was decided earlier in the afternoon.

“Last year the event was staged at the Padang, under the auspices of the Singapore Recreation Club” said Ridzal Saat, FAS' Deputy Director of Development and Planning.

“This year we thought it would be better if we staged it here where we have more facilities.

“We could not start preparing things until the Friday night S.League game had finished so the team of us all worked until 2am to have things ready for when people arrived later in the morning. We then had to be back here by 7am for the 8am start and it’s been hard work, but it’s all been very worthwhile.

“It was a good bonding exercise for the FAS staff to be involved in something other than routine football competitions and I’m sure everyone derived a great benefit from the exercise."

OCBC beat Hewlett Packard in the Cup Final 1-0, Keppel overcame Accenture 2-0 in the Bowl Final, and Ernst and Young were victors over IBM in the Plate Final.

Phoebe Low, Media Relations Manager of Singapore Pools, was delighted with how things had gone on the day, adding: “We targeted to raise $400,000 and we have already exceeded that figure. We won’t be disclosing the final amount until Wednesday night at the official dinner."

Apart from the mini-matches, which were officiated by registered referees and conducted in a great sporting spirit, there were other fund-raisers on the day.

There was a ‘Silent’ Auction of Football Memorabilia,from which proceeds will be distributed equally among the nine beneficiaries.

Perhaps the most appreciated part of the day for many were the Ladies Matches, bringing the crowds to their feet, although some other teams featured women players as well.

Singapore Sports Council Media Relations spokesman, Eric Ong, was one of many who enjoyed watching those games.

“It was a fantastic day and to see so many corporate types setting aside the day for this fund-raising event was wonderful,” he said.

“The ‘Sports Cares Foundation’, one of the nine charities benefitting from the event, is our special baby and it’s great to see the power of football and sport in general to bring people together in this way."

For Ridzal Saat, who played for the FAS team, despite his exhaustion from the night before, he felt it had all been worthwhile.

“This was a chance for FAS to show off its organisational skills and to do something a little different," he said.

“More than anything it was great chance for everyone who came here to network with others in various fields and to experience the feel of the Jalan Besar Stadium for themselves. For most it was their first opportunity to do that."