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An NFL fixture was scheduled by FAS at the same time and venue as a women's league match with the latter being forced to make way despite having been set to play first

Players turning up at Meridian Junior College on Wednesday evening expecting a routine league match were in for a rude shock when four teams showed up for kick-off.

Women's Premier League (WPL) teams Arion Football Academy and Winchester FC were expecting to play their rescheduled fixture from earlier this year but were surprised to find that National Football League (NFL) sides were also present at the venue.

Sembawang SC and Yishun Sentek had also been scheduled by the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) to play their own reworked fixture at Meridian Junior College at the same time as the Women's League match.

An apologetic FAS representative then informed the players that the NFL match had been booked first and as a compromise the women's teams were asked to give way to allow the men's fixture to go ahead.

"The team was very upset that our match was called-off," said Arion captain Yeong Sheau Shyan. "Players rushed down from school and work only to find out that the venue was double-booked."

Yeong also expressed frustration at having to make way for the men's match, after finding out that the WPL match had been scheduled first contrary to what FAS had conveyed to the players.

"Initially, they told us that the NFL match was booked earlier so we had to give way," she added. "But upon further investigation, theirs was a rescheduled match too and it seems our match was booked first."

The former Singapore international revealed that her team's fixture had been announced on May 12, five days before the NFL game was set.

"That made things more unacceptable because it became a plain case of inequality," said Yeong. "That showed how much FAS weighed women's football. They have never given consideration to our preparation and it has been rather clear for a long time they run our competition (WPL) because they have to and not because they want to."

Yeong, however, was quick to absolve the FAS personnel who had been tasked with scheduling the fixtures of blame, instead pointing out that the mistake was symptom of a larger issue with how the football administration tackles the running of the women's game.

"This has happened before so I think there's either communication breakdown within the competition department or the booking procedures are not clear or adhered to," she told Goal.

A new date for the postponed WPL fixture between Arion and Winchester had not been set at the time of publication.