The Singapore National Stadium (Chinese: 国家体育场; Malay: Stadium Nasional Singapura) is located in Kallang. Opened in July 1973, the National Stadium was officially closed on 30 June 2007 and will be demolished in late 2008 to make way for the Singapore Sports Hub which is expected to open in 2011.
The stadium was used for many sporting, cultural, entertainment and national events, such as the Southeast Asian Games (when it was hosted in Singapore), the Singapore Armed Forces Day, the Singapore Youth Festival Opening Ceremony Parade, and the finals of the 2004 Tiger Cup. The National Stadium has been the venue for the National Day Parade 18 times (in 1976, 1980, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1996 to 1999, 2001 to 2004, and 2006).
Ever since the stadium opened in 1973, the stadium has been kept busy mainly due to being host of Singapore's national football team's home matches and other football matches such as the Singapore Cup finals since 1996.
The National Stadium had an 8-lane running track and football field in addition to other miscellaneous facilities such as ping pong tables, weights room and auditorium, housed in the large spaces under the spectator stands. In order to accommodate crowds, there were more than parking lots for more than 4,000 cars and 100 motorcycles.
While the facilities were often used for high-profile sporting events, they could also be used by members of the public and other local organizations for a fee. For example, when not otherwise used, the running track could be used by joggers for S$0.50 per entry.
The headquarters of the Singapore Sports Council used to be located at 15 Stadium Road.
Soon after the end of the Second World War, as Singapore moved towards self-government and independence, the clamour began for a national stadium.
Preliminary studies of possible sites began in the 1950s. Kallang Park was selected because of existing sport facilities in the immediate vicinity. In August 1965, preliminary work on the design of the Stadium began. By the end of 1965, considerable progress having been made to shelter people, educate the young and to find jobs for the swelling population, Minister Othman Wok announced the Government's intention to proceed with the construction of the National Stadium of Olympic standards at Kallang, as the first phase of the National Sports Complex. The Minister told Parliament that the National Stadium would give a tremendous boost to the promotion of sports in Singapore and would help improve the Republic's image in international sports.
A state-owned lottery company, Singapore Pools
, was set up in 1968 to raise funds for the stadium. Proceeds from the Singapore Sweep and TOTO were used to pay a substantial part of the construction bill. Between 1968–1976, the company contributed S$14.5 million towards the project. Singapore Pools also helped the Stadium repay a government loan of $7.8 million meant as start-up money for a stadium management corporation . Today, Singapore Pools is still a major sponsor for the National Stadium, as well as the National Day Parade.
On 7 December 1966
in the year that Singapore celebrated her first National Day, Minister Othman drove the first pile into the ground. For the next three and a half years, piling was done to lay the foundations. Work had to be delayed due to bad weather for about a month. By the end of 1970, the stadium was three-quarters completed and was starting to take its definitive shape. Thirty-six steps, each 76 metres wide, formed an impressive entrance and a cauldron was built within the stadium to carry a flame that would burn on special events and on the opening of the National Stadium of Singapore. By the end of June 1973, 300,000 bags of cement, 3,000,000 bricks and 4,500 tons of steel and timber had been used and the stadium was completed. On 19 July 1973
the new stadium was opened to the public for the first time.
Plans have been made to demolish the stadium and build the multi-purpose, 35.6 hectare Singapore Sports Hub
in its place. Demolition works are expected to begin in the second half of 2007, and the new Sports Hub planned for completion in 2012. Three finalist consortia have submitted their plans, which are currently being evaluated.
The 2007 ASEAN Football Championship is the last major event held at the National Stadium before its redevelopment.
On 30 June 2007
, a closing ceremony titled Field of Dreams – A Tribute to the National Stadium
was held at the National Stadium. 45,000 people attended the event, together with President S R Nathan
, members of the Cabinet
and Singapore athletes, past and present. Before the ceremony, a football match featuring ex-internationals from Singapore and Malaysia like Quah Kim Song
, T. Pathmanathan
, Samat Allapitchay
, V. Sundramoorthy
, David Lee
, Dollah Kassim
, Soh Chin Aun
, Santokh Singh
, Chow Siew Wai
and K. Gunalan
The match was followed by the highlight of the evening, an international friendly between ASEAN champions Singapore and the Asian Cup bound Australian team, the Socceroos. The Australians won 3-0 with goals scored by English Premier League players Mark Viduka (50, 86 mins) and Harry Kewell (75 min).
This was, however, not the last football match to be played in the stadium as it would still be used for some 2010 FIFA World Cup Qualification matches for AFC Zone. The very last goal scored at the stadium was scored by Jo of Brazil in a 3-0 win over the hosts in the 81st minute on 28 July 2008 in a friendly.
The stadium's 42-year history is as follows:
- December: Work begins on the S$50 million complex.
- July 24: Fire at National Stadium, as the NDP's main stage catches fire because of an electrical fault.
- December 18: Singapore are beaten 0-4 by Malaysia in the Tiger Cup. Singapore, who were joint hosts with Indonesia for the group stages, were eventually knocked out of the competition after only managing a 1-1 draw with Thailand on December 22.
- January 16: Singapore clinch Tiger Cup at National Stadium, beating Indonesia 2-1 (5-2 on aggregate), in the second leg of the final.
- March 26: The National Stadium sees the hosting of a World Cup third round qualifying match for the first time, and Singapore beat Lebanon 2-0.
- April 3: The Sports Council announces that the stadium would host at least two more football games, due to ongoing delays in securing the paperwork for the Sports Hub construction.
- June 2: The stadium hosted the second home game for the World Cup third round qualifying match, but saw the hosts thrashed 3-7 by Uzbekistan.
- June 14: The stadium hosted the third home game for the qualifying. but the hosts lost 0-2 to Saudi Arabia.
- July 28: With the paper for the new Sports Hub yet to be completed, the stadium hosted a friendly against the Brazil Olympic team which saw the samba kings winning 3-0.