Yazeen returns to FAS as deputy general secretary
Appointment is FAS' first step to structural changes that won't be hindered by recent departures
The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) has set the wheels in motion on various issues faced by the sport since Lim Kia Tong and his team won at the watershed election on April 29.
An adhoc committee looking into governance issues within the organisation has been formed, with a December deadline set to complete its work.
An external consultant has also been brought in to advise on the S.League, with Lim's council still waiting to learn about the consultant's findings.
While most moves are still a work-in-progress, yesterday saw what was perhaps the first visible change set in motion by the FAS president.
Former FAS head of development Yazeen Buhari has returned to the national body after a stint with the Asian Football Confederation.
He was appointed the FAS deputy general secretary (DGS) in charge of strategy and engagement.
Winston Lee, the FAS general secretary, remains its most senior employee.
FAS vice-president Edwin Tong told The New Paper yesterday that this appointment is the first step to a bigger structural change.
"We are looking at our internal structure right now, and there will be several changes put in place, with the DGS a major part of it," he said.
"While Yazeen will be looking into engaging our key stakeholders and leading the more open communications we want to have, we are already looking at bringing in another DGS who will handle the competitions side of football, like the S.League," added the lawyer.
The FAS is planning to divide its departments into two major aspects - strategy and communications, as well as competitions - under each DGS.
While the S.League chief executive officer was previously handling the professional domestic league, Tong revealed that those responsibilities will now come directly under the FAS, and fronted by its second DGS.
"We have a few candidates in mind, and we have already had preliminary discussions with some of them," he added.
"But any appointment has to be considered with the plans for the future of the S.League, and approval for these plans by Sport Singapore (SportSG) and Tote Board. There's no hurry at this point in time."
The situation remains up in the air as the FAS is still working towards what is understood to be a mid-August deadline to finalise these plans before making its presentations.
The FAS has another issue to deal with during this transition as three of its senior staff - Jason Lee, deputy director of corporate affairs and strategic development; Adrian Chan, deputy director of competitions; and Fabian Chew, assistant director, development and planning - had submitted resignations.
While Lee and Chan have already left the organisation, Tong revealed that the FAS has managed to convince Chew to stay.
"I don't think the two departures will significantly adversely affect the organisation," he said.
"I personally had a chat with Fabian, spoke to him about the changes we want to implement and the plans we have for the FAS, and he revoked his resignation."
"He believes in the things that we want to do," added Tong, who revealed that Chew will work closely with Yazeen.
The 39-year-old Yazeen, who has had stints with SportSG and Singapore Athletics, started work at the FAS yesterday.
"We have a lot of work ahead of us, and I believe getting the right people is critical to helping us move forward," said Tong.
"I've worked with Yazeen when he was with the FAS last year, and I find him effective and pro-active. I'm happy that he's coming back to join us."