'Singapore football has to be re-united, not be split'
Bill Ng magnanimous in defeat, promises he and his team will be the '12th man' for victorious Team LKT
In the end, it was not to be for Team Game Changers, but Bill Ng has promised to play the role of the "12th man" after the local football fraternity elected a new Football Association of Singapore (FAS) council on Saturday.
Ng, chairman of S.League club Hougang United and National Football League side Tiong Bahru Football Club, had hoped to lead his Game Changers slate to victory as president, but the FAS' 44 affiliates instead threw their weight behind former FAS vice-president Lim Kia Tong and his slate Team LKT.
Team LKT scored 30 votes to Game Changers' 13 to win the election. One vote was invalid.
Despite the election result, Ng emerged from the Black Box Auditorium at the National Stadium wearing a wide smile.
"We have to respect the result," said the 57-year-old businessman.
"They (Team LKT) deserve it... They are the best 11. So we'll be the 12th man.
"Singapore football has to be re-united, not be split."
When asked if he regretted running for FAS president, Ng said: "No regrets. I appreciate my team, they tried their best.
"We opened up new channels, people are now more aware of local football... It's definitely good for Singapore football."
About three hours after the election was completed, Ng released a statement on Game Changers' Facebook page, thanking the affiliates for taking time to listen to his team's proposals and also for their suggestions on how to take local football forward.
He also offered "sincerest congratulations" to Team LKT and said he and his team "will continue to play a supporting role for the betterment of the game".
Tampines Rovers chairman Krishna Ramachandra, who ran on Ng's slate as a candidate for vice-president, was equally magnanimous.
The 45-year-old lawyer said: "I'm slightly disappointed, but also happy a line has been drawn and Singapore football can start afresh.
"The new council has a lot of capable people in them and they'll be excited and looking forward to proving themselves, and that can only be good for Singapore football."
Ramachandra added that he saw the increased dialogue with amateur National Football League clubs as a "positive" that was gained throughout the election campaign.
This was echoed by Annabel Pennefather, who also ran alongside Ng as a candidate for vice-president.
In the past two weeks, revelations of Ng's $500,000 donation from the funds of amateur club Tiong Bahru FC to the Asean Football Federation via FAS - and a subsequent police investigation into the club's funds - had dominated coverage of the election.
Said veteran sports administrator Pennefather: "If the things that have come out as a result of this election will help the sport (and the FAS) to be more accountable, more transparent... And the individuals who are in it to be more careful and hands-on and not leave things in the hands of just one or two people, then I think only good can come out of this.
"Hopefully, in the longer term, it's going to benefit the players.
"They must be at the centre of everything."