Bill Ng calls for fresh start for Singapore football
Game Changers chief issues call for fraternity to learn from the past
Football Association of Singapore (FAS) general secretary Winston Lee had demanded an unconditional apology from Bill Ng on Tuesday after releasing documents that appear to contradict Ng's earlier statements about a $500,000 donation.
The donation - to the Asean Football Federation's (AFF) Football Management System (FMS) - was made by Ng's Tiong Bahru FC (TBFC) through the FAS, with Ng claiming he had no clear picture of its destination.
In a statement released yesterday, Ng did not apologise, but moved towards some sort of reconciliation, calling for a "fresh start" for Singapore football.
"What has transpired and emerged over the last few days is a reflection of the occurrences and administration of football in Singapore in the last 10 or more years. Sad, but a true reflection," said Ng, who added that he may have "washed dirty linen in public" while also possibly sullying his own reputation.
Ng called this situation "ground zero" for Singapore football, pleading with the public to hear from other football administrators whom he believes have "somewhat similar" stories.
"The public and football fraternity needs to know the previous environment of administration. It is nothing but an unhealthy environment and needs to be cleared," said Ng.
"Only when we have awareness of our shortcomings, develop an acceptance of those shortcomings, then can we have the wisdom, acceptance and fortitude to make the change for the betterment of football in Singapore."
This enforced directive from Fifa for direct FAS elections has created an opportunity to increase openness, solicit performance benchmarks for office bearers, encourage more interaction and conversations between so many parties.Bill Ng, leader of Game Changers
Ng is looking to learn from the issues and move forward, but former FAS general secretary Steven Yeo believes that all facts must be unearthed before the next step can be taken - because the situation is still murky.
Said Yeo, a former deputy executive director of the Singapore Sports Council (now Sport Singapore): "It would have been better if Ng had been clearer about the donation his club made, but there are serious process issues with this matter.
"Firstly, why does the donation need to pass through the FAS, why does it need to be a conduit for this?
"In any organisation, public or private, a movement of funds of this significance, there must be approval from its board of directors," added Yeo, in response to Lim Kia Tong's claim that the FAS council at the time had no knowledge of this donation.
Lim, who is a former FAS vice-president, is the leader of Team LKT, the team opposing Ng at the April 29 FAS election.
For an amount this big, there needs to be tacit approval of the FAS council, and two signatories for the cheque. Who in the FAS signed that cheque?Steven Yeo, former deputy executive director of the Singapore Sports Council (now Sport Singapore)
Some documents released by Lee on Tuesday depicted cheques made out from TBFC to the FAS, totalling $500,000.
Yeo - who has no affiliation to either team contesting at the upcoming election - has more serious questions.
"For an amount this big, there needs to be tacit approval of the FAS council, and two signatories for the cheque. Who in the FAS signed that cheque?" asked Yeo.
Current FAS general secretary Lee had earlier asserted that "FAS council approval was not needed and not sought because this was a donation that Ng made to AFF, not the FAS".
Said Yeo: "As general secretary, Winston's responsibility is to make sure that the president and the council are aware of its authority and the constitution.
"This is because approval will be needed to initiate payment even before approving it."
Yeo is unsure if this saga could see Ng struck off by the FAS Electoral Committee, who has already conducted eligibility and integrity tests and finalised its list of 32 candidates to stand on April 29.
He said: "They use objective tests like an individual's criminal records, betting records with Singapore Pools and if they have been declared a bankrupt before.
"But this situation is subjective. They will have to decide on intent by looking at the facts - is this situation a question of integrity or interpretation.
"It's a perilous task, I wouldn't want to take it on."
But Yeo was clear on one point.
He said: "Winston cannot wash his hands off this."