Singapore Football

New FAS council gets down to work

Newly-elected team host appreciation lunch for staff, followed by a 3.5-hour council meeting

Yesterday was the new Football Association of Singapore (FAS) council's first "official" day at work and, boy, was it a busy one.

Four days after being elected as office bearers, the 15-strong team, led by president Lim Kia Tong, had their first council meeting at Jalan Besar Stadium yesterday evening.

The three-and-a-half hour discussion capped a productive day for Lim, who also helmed an appreciation lunch at the stadium - which is also the FAS' headquarters - for its staff, who number around 90.

Following the lunch, which was attended by eight members of the new council, Lim then had an executive committee meeting with his four vice-presidents to discuss the agenda for the council meeting.

The 64-year-old lawyer left Jalan Besar Stadium only around 10pm last night, but still had to drop by his office - he is the head of the criminal department at Hin Tat Augustine and Partners - to attend to work matters before he could finally head home.

Lim told The New Paper last night: "In our first council meeting, I briefed the council on their powers and areas of responsibility... administrative things like that.

"We also discussed about, among other things, setting up a taskforce to look into governance issues and future of S.League."

THE FUTURE

The future of the 22-year-old S.League is just one of several pressing issues on the new council's in-tray.

Others include improving the results of the national team, which are currently ranked 159th in the world, and ensuring there is transparency and accountability in the national football body.

The latter point rose to prominence during the build-up to the election when it was revealed that amateur club Tiong Bahru Football Club (TBFC)made a $500,000 donation to regional football body Asean Football Federation through the FAS.

Lim, who was vice-president of the FAS when the donation was made, had stressed that he and other council members were unaware of the matter.

National sports agency Sport Singapore subsequently made a police report over a suspected misuse of funds at TBFC and an attempt by a senior club official to obstruct the completion of audits of the S.League's sit-out clubs.

TBFC chairman Bill Ng, his wife Bonnie Wong, former FAS president Zainudin Nordin and FAS general secretary Winston Lee are assisting with the police probe.

Lim, who confirmed that Lee was present at the appreciation lunch and also at the council meeting last night, reiterated that the 52-year-old would continue in his role, at least until the police investigation is concluded.

Yesterday, the new FAS council members said that they were pleased with the work that had been done since they took office.

FAS vice-president Teo Hock Seng said the lunch with the staff was a good way for them to connect with an "integral" part of the council's plans.

"Like the civil service, they are central to everything," said the managing director of Komoco Motors, who was also chairman of S.League side Tampines Rovers from 2000 to 2015.

"To me, the mood (among the staff) is good... We have to show them we are pragmatic people and we want to get the job done.

"Kia Tong has expressed what our objectives are, and they are an integral part of our success."

Fellow FAS vice-president S Thavaneson added: "They are the ones working on the ground.

"We will be meeting them more often, and they can always come to us... I think engagement was lacking (in the previous council)."

While Lim sounded understandably tired last night, he said that he was happy to be given the chance to help lift local football.

"We are very committed to carry out what we promised the affiliates who voted us in," he said.

"There is no time to rest, because we know any change cannot come immediately."

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