Football

Thava: We have treated everyone professionally

Balestier Khalsa are under no obligation to inform players of their intention to retain or release them before their contracts are up.

Balestier chairman S Thavaneson (above) was steadfast in his response to The New Paper when told of former player Park Kang Jin's complaints.

The 66-year-old maintained that the club acted "properly and professionally" with regard to the players' contract extensions and releases.

He said: "Let's be clear. The club will not be rushed into making a decision over a player.

"After the Singapore Cup final, we told Park Kang Jin and the other players that the club were not in a position to re-sign foreign players.

"If Park says we were unprofessional or not courteous, then I can reverse it as well.

"At times, a player will sign for another club as soon as his contract is up, without informing us - where is the courtesy shown to us then?

"This is football. If the player is so great, why didn't another club sign him?"

Park's outburst was the second time this week that Balestier and Thava have come under fire from ex-players.

On Thursday, TNP reported that former Tigers captain Paul Cunningham was upset over his release from the club last October.

When asked why there was so much discontent with the club lately, Thava maintained that Balestier have not treated anyone unfairly.

He said: "Everyone knows this is a simple case of players who had a good deal with Balestier, who were treated well at the club, and are now unattached.

"If no club want you, why blame us? This is the reality of football."

Thava also objected to Park's claims that he had an agenda against the players brought to the club by former Tigers coach Darren Stewart.

Stewart was released at the end of 2013, after helping Balestier win the League Cup and to a creditable fourth in the league that year.

Along with Park, Kim Minho, Jaslee Hatta and Ruhaizad Ismail - all signed by Stewart from Gombak in 2012 - have left the Tigers.

Said Thava: "(Park) is treading on dangerous ground by saying that, because it is certainly not true.

"We still have players at the club who were signed by Darren - my goalkeeper Zaiful Nizam, Ridwan Jamil, Zakariah Nerani and Yusiskandar Yusop.

"As I have said before, we released a number of players from last season because we want to freshen the team."