Sports minister Fu: 'Football must be the priority'
As rival camps trade barbs, sports minister Fu calls for focus to improve S'pore's No. 1 sport
The gloves appear to be off, as the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) gears up for its first contested elections next month.
Within 48 hours of the FAS announcing election details on Saturday morning, the two rival camps have traded hot barbs.
Krishna Ramachandra, chairman of S.League club Tampines Rovers, slammed what he felt was a "personal attack" on Hougang United chairman Bill Ng - whose team he is on - by FAS provisional council president Lim Kia Tong.
Lim, a lawyer, made several comments about his opponent in a video interview which was posted by The Straits Times.
Yesterday, on the sidelines of a prelude to this year's GetActive! Singapore event at the Palawan Green at Sentosa, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, Grace Fu reminded all parties that the squabbling must not distract them from the priority - which is the football itself.
She said: "I just urge the National Sports Associations, whether its football or other sports, to really put the interest of the sport at the foremost of their consideration.
"We are here to try get sports adopted by as many people as possible and try to raise the standard of sports in Singapore.
"The interest of the sport must come first."
She added: "I'm glad to see there's some progress made and we look forward to the fraternity coming together and uniting for the betterment of football in Singapore.
“Football is a very popular sport, and I hope to see the team (that wins) apply their minds to improving the standards, getting more people interested, and also getting more people to participate actively in football.”Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, Grace Fu
"Football is a very popular sport, and I hope to see the team (that wins) apply their minds to improving the standards, getting more people interested, and also getting more people to participate actively in football."
In the video interview that "irked" Ramachandra, Lim - together with former Tampines chairman Teo Hock Seng, who is on his team - questioned whether Ng had "ulterior purposes" in running for the FAS presidency.
In the video, which was almost six minutes long, Lim also insisted Singapore football was not in as dire shape as some critics have made it out to be.
Ramachandra added Lim and Teo "went down in my estimation" with their remarks on Ng.
The elections are scheduled for April 29 and over the course of the next few days, both Lim and Ng will formally introduce their team members.
The new office bearers for the FAS will be decided by its 44 affiliates, which consist of S.League and amateur National Football League clubs, as well as other related organisations.
The slate which garners at least two-thirds majority, or 30 votes, will be declared the winner.