NFL gets insurance coverage, but not all are pleased
Footballers in the 23 National Football League (NFL) clubs can finally play without worry when the season for both amateur divisions kick off on April 22.
It was revealed that all clubs will see their players receive insurance coverage for the year, at a meeting at the Football Association of Singapore's (FAS) Jalan Besar headquarters yesterday evening,.
With 23 of FAS' 44 affiliates hailing from the NFL, the amateur league has become a key battleground ahead of the FAS' first election of its leaders on April 29.
While some clubs welcome the move as a first step towards a better NFL, others were unconvinced by the presentation that lasted less than an hour.
"We really appreciate what was presented today, it is a good beginning, a good first step forward for the NFL, said Rahim Non, club adviser for Jungfrau Punggol FC.
He pointed to several grouses that NFL clubs have had in the past, such as difficulty in finding training or playing venues and also players' insurance.
"We don't think about who is going to win the election. At this point, we're just eager to start the league," he added.
The New Paper understands that the FAS has secured sponsors for the league, with each team receiving $10,000 in seed money, which will be used for the insurance premiums.
Clubs were told that there would be $10,000 in accident coverage, with medical expenses capped at $3,000 per player, per year, for up to a squad of 25 registered players.
South Avenue honorary secretary Zulkifli Ramli was unconvinced.
"The briefing was quite farcical. We went there for a briefing that lasted just half an hour, when I asked them for details on this insurance, like will it cover pre-season training sessions, and friendly games, they said they are working on it," he said, adding that there was just a single presentation slide addressing the issue of insurance.
"It was not professional, and not adequate, especially since they didn't have pertinent facts for the clubs to take away - there were several gaps that were not addressed."
Zulkifli also found the situation troubling.
"I don't know what the intent of the briefing is, but I found it strange: There was unashamed canvassing of votes (for the FAS election) by certain individuals," said the 52-year-old, who works in a multi-national company. But he declined to name them.
"The whole thing could have been done better."
GFA Sporting Westlake's club secretary Zairi Ahmari was pleased with the insurance coverage, and he made it clear which way his club will vote on April 29.
"We've been calling for this for many years, and today it has happened. Everyone (in the NFL) has asked for this, I don't think (this has come about) because of the election," he said, before showing his support for former FAS provisional council president Lim Kia Tong's Team LKT in their bid for office against Bill Ng's Game Changers.
"This is the change that we want, not the Game Changers."