Tampines chairman Krishna resigns
Tampines chairman has submitted resignation to FAS, will finalise exit after audit of club accounts
He took the S.League by storm. Within months of helming Tampines Rovers, chairman Krishna Ramachandra put the S.League on the world map.
Internationally recognised names Jermaine Pennant, Gerard Houllier and even Ronaldinho were associated with the five-time league champions.
But it has not been plain sailing for the 45-year-old corporate lawyer, who is relinquishing his post as Tampines chairman after less than two years in the job.
The New Paper understands that Krishna has recommended a successor, who will need to be approved by the authorities.
Said Krishna in a statement: "I intend to step down as chairman of TRFC in the coming weeks... after TRFC's 2016 accounts have been audited and finalised. I will be dealing with all outstanding queries relating to TRFC's statement of accounts before stepping down.
"The high demands of my professional career have overtaken my ability to keep volunteering at the level of intensity that is needed to fulfil the role of chairman of TRFC," added Krishna, who said he will remain as a committee member to assist in the transition phase.
During his term, which started in November 2015, Krishna moved to install new revenue streams for Tampines, so as to decrease reliance on handouts from the Tote Board and takings from jackpot operations.
But cash-flow issues, coupled with a loan dispute with the club's former management committee and delays in launching plans stymied hopes.
Financial issues also cropped up at the club. These include late payment of salaries to Stags staff, which raised the attention of the Central Provident Fund Board.
There have been challenges along the way, but it was a good learning experience. I have also loaned and guaranteed the club over $1 million to ensure it worked.Outgoing Tampines Rovers chairman Krishna Ramachandra
"There have been challenges along the way, but it was a good learning experience.
"I have also loaned and guaranteed the club over $1 million to ensure it worked," he said.
TNP had previously reported that Tampines had taken up a $756,000 interest-free loan from "credit line" sponsors, Taiwanese tech company Nogle, and will start repayment of $21,000 per month only next year.
Krishna has also sought legal representation over a separate loan of $190,000 from former sponsors Komoco. He is disputing the veracity of the loan after Komoco, under former Tampines chairman Teo Hock Seng, demanded repayment.
It is understood that these outstanding loans are an issue for the FAS, who wants the club to be handed debt-free to Tampines' incoming management committee.
Krishna's current management committee has only four members, after vice-chairman Chris Wong resigned earlier this year.
Despite the woes, Krishna said he has derived joy from his involvement with the club.
"It has been an honour and privilege to serve this wonderful club. I have enjoyed many memorable moments with the fans, players, coaches and staff - all of whom have been just an absolute joy to work with," he said.
"I have absolutely no regrets on the footballing experience I have had in the last six over years and I will certainly continue to support Singapore football."
Krishna is hopeful of a better future for S.League clubs, though.
"Hopefully, in the near future, S.League clubs will be allowed the option to be privatised, and those that can, may possibly install a viable model," he said.
"This will take time but more importantly will need the support of all stakeholders."
The Football Association of Singapore did not respond to queries by press time.