FAS election: First salvos fired
FAS calls for election on April 29, and barbs are already being traded between camps
April 29 is the date set for the Football Association of Singapore's (FAS), watershed election - the first time FAS' 44 affiliates will choose the leadership of the sport's local governing body at the ballot box.
After months of constitutional amendments and consultations, notice for election was sent to affiliates at 9.16am on Saturday (March 18) morning. The FAS congress will be held at the Sport Singapore Auditorium at the Singapore Sports Hub on April 29, with voting commencing at 11am on the day.
Two teams have declared their intention to contest at the polls – a group led by FAS provisional council president Lim Kia Tong, backed by former Tampines Rovers chairman Teo Hock Seng; and another behind Hougang United chairman Bill Ng, including current Tampines chief Krishna Ramachandra.
Each group will put forward a slate of nine – president, deputy president, four vice presidents and three council members – with six more council member slots to be contested on an individual basis.
In its first statement since the call for an election, a spokesman from Ng’s team told The New Paper that their campaign will focus on issues, not slinging mud at those involved.
We are saddened and disturbed “over the statements made through the media and the video interview that was, for a time, put up on the Straits Times website,” he said.
With Teo alongside him, Lim fired his first salvo in a video interview filmed on Friday. He raised questions over Ng’s integrity and track record with Hougang, pointing to the fact that the Cheetahs have been “lying at the bottom” of the S.League.
“(The leadership’s) responsibility (does) not only revolve around raising funds through jackpot machines,” said Lim in the video that also asked if there was a “hidden agenda” behind Ng’s candidacy.
Ng’s spokesman declined to address those statements directly, but in a Facebook post, Krishna called the video interview "tasteless".
"We all (volunteers) put in hours behind the scenes to make things work and cerainly to do our best. I know for a fact that (Lim) has put in countless hours...so I am really disappointed with the nature of this personal attack on Bill," said Krishna, calling for an immediate apology.
"Battle must be done in a dignified manner. Please, I urge everyone involved in the upcoming elections...respect your fellow Singaporean, respect the volunteers who have stepped forward to be counted and conduct proceedings with respect."
Added the spokesman: “We wish to stress that the only reason we have come forward is because we are committed to taking Singapore football forward, and we believe in the vision that our team members have shared so passionately.
“This is the focus of our campaign – the plans and policies we want to put in place to bring back Singapore's football glory and to bring joy to the hearts of our
Our plans are taking shape very well with inputs from people who really care and we are heartened by the spontaneous support from many quarters in the last few weeks", he said.
Lim also spoke to TNP on Friday, and he pointed to issues in both Tampines and Hougang as indications of the ability of Ng and Krishna in possibly running the FAS.
“If they want to bring Singapore football forward, they should first see how the handle their own clubs,” said Lim.
TNP had earlier reported that Tampines were late in paying wages to some of their players in the first two months of 2017, with their administrative issues extending to their jerseys and registration of players for the Prime League. They faced cash flow issues as reported in our paper in April last year.
In a Straits Times interview last week, Krishna called for the incumbents to “honourably...step aside for the greater good”.
Lim did not take too kindly to those comments.
He pointed to Tampines’ financial issues in the opening months of the 2016 and 2017 seasons, Lim said: “Why doesn’t (Krishna) do the honourable thing and step aside? We’ve managed the FAS for so long without such problems.”
But Lim was also referring to Ng’s Hougang side that have not challenged four honours since Ng took the reins in 2009, when the club played under the banner of Sengkang Punggol FC.
“Talk is very cheap. Realising the talk is very expensive,” said Lim.
“We need men with integrity...to drive the game.”