Warriors FC charged with 107 counts of not paying employees' salaries
The football club failed to pay players, staff more than $350,000
Troubled professional football club Warriors FC was yesterday charged with 107 counts of not paying its employees their salaries.
According to charge sheets, the Singapore Premier League side failed to make payments amounting to over $350,000 on July 8, Aug 8, Sept 8 and Oct 8 this year. The affected parties include its players, coaches, and administrative staff.
A Warriors representative will have to return to court on Dec 5 for a further mention of the case.
In response to queries from The Straits Times, a Ministry of Manpower (MOM) spokesman said it had suspended the club's work pass privileges since May "when we first started investigation into possible breaches of the Employment Act" and its investigations have established the club "failed to comply with the Employment Act and we are proceeding to charge the club".
Under the Employment Act, employers who fail to pay salaries to their employees can be fined up to $15,000 and/or imprisoned up to six months. The penalty may be doubled for repeat offenders.
Despite not being paid for several months, Warriors' players surpassed expectations, and on Nov 2 reached the Singapore Cup final, where Tampines Rovers beat them 4-3.
It is understood the $45,000 prize money the club won was disbursed to them only on the condition that it is used to pay some of the salary arrears.
One employee told ST on condition of anonymity: "To go three or four months without salary is tough, and some of the staff have families to feed. The players played so hard during the Singapore Cup, because they were also fighting for their futures, in the hope they impress other clubs enough to sign them for next year."
The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) said it was regrettable Warriors were unable to resolve their financial and administration issues which have resulted in the charges.
"In the past months, the FAS has sought to assist the club in various ways so as to minimise disruption to the players as well as the staff," it said.
ST first reported in October 2018 that Warriors, nine-time league champions and the country's most successful club, had problems paying its staff on time.
As a result, the MOM suspended the club's work pass privileges, barring it from any foreign hires.
While this was lifted after the club made payments on what it owed, late salary payouts continued into this year, leading the MOM to reimpose the suspension in May.
Two months later, the FAS said it was "gravely concerned" with the manner in which the financial subsidies provided to the club had been administered and added it had been making payments of the club employees' monthly CPF contributions directly to the CPF Board since March.