A two-pronged approach to success
SportSG chief Lim says new FAS council needs a good mix of old and new faces and must be open to change
In football, title-winning teams are often made up of a perfect blend of the young and the old, the experienced campaigners and the exciting new prospects.
Similarly, Sport Singapore (SportSG) chief executive Lim Teck Yin believes that, in the case of the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) council elections, a mixture of old faces and new ones will be good for the progression of the sport here.
In a wide-ranging interview with The New Paper last week, Lim said: "Leadership of the FAS needs to evolve progressively. You cannot throw out the baby with the bathwater, it doesn't work well.
"Football is a $20 million problem with international links to organisations such as the AFF (Asean Football Federation), the AFC (Asian Football Confederation) and Fifa.
"Any new slate that comes in with a whole bunch of new people who have never run a NSA (national sports association) like the FAS, it would be a fairly uncertain and unstable time for Singapore football."
"On the other hand, a council that does not exhibit potential for change, new ideas and mindsets, will also not be the best outcome," added Lim, who stressed that he was speaking in his personal capacity.
The local football fraternity will elect its leaders for the first time in more than 30 years, in an election that must be called before May, after a revised constitution was approved during an extraordinary general meeting last November.
Previously, the council was appointed by the Government and, most recently, the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth.
Leadership of the FAS needs to evolve progressivelySport Singapore chief executive Lim Teck Yin
SportSG will not be involved in the polls, but will remain an important stakeholder as the FAS, like all NSAs here, is heavily dependent on government grants disbursed by SportSG for its operations and activities.
Several camps have emerged in the lead-up to the landmark FAS polls, with the most prominent two fronted by interim FAS president Lim Kia Tong, and former Woodlands Wellington manager R. Vengadasalam.
Following the highs of victories in the AFF Suzuki Cup and the Malaysian Super League in the last decade, Singapore football has not had much to shout about in recent times.
The Lions crashed out of the Suzuki Cup at the group stage with their worst record in history last year, and the Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League has been battling to improve crowd attendances for several years.
These have led to a growing chorus of people in the local fraternity agitating for change at the top.
But Lim hopes to see a new council that has both institutional knowledge and new ideas, which is inclusive and forward looking.
Lim said: "I hope to see, as the (new) council continues to do its work and progress, some very deliberate efforts at leadership renewal, succession planning and the blooding of ideas.
"You can certainly do that by encouraging and engaging more people to get involved, whether you're an elected member of the council or not."
Lim added that the new FAS council must cultivate a complete and vibrant eco-system, comprising different groups of people with different levels of skills - be it clubs, schools, amateur players or coaches - so that they can be tapped into to improve themselves or simply continue to be engaged in the sport.
"They can be talented players who can't play at the high-performance end (of the spectrum) but still want to play recreational, competitive football," Lim said.
"There should be leagues, competitions and teams for them to join and play."