Former manager of Joseph Schooling under investigation after failing to deliver ICC tickets
A police report has been made against Joseph Schooling's former manager, Hafidz Ja'afar, for non-delivery of tickets for the Singapore leg of the International Champions Cup.
A. Rahman, a 36-year-old events manager, lodged the police report after paying Hafidz, his "close friend", for 12 tickets to last Saturday's Manchester United-Inter Milan match, and then realised that they were not legitimate.
When the United fan reached the National Stadium and scanned his tickets, he was denied entry.
TNP understands that there were at least four other complaints.
In response to a query on Hafidz's case yesterday, the police confirmed "that a report was lodged and investigations are ongoing".
Swim Schooling - the school that Schooling set up in June last year - also released a statement on its Facebook page, saying that it had terminated Hafidz's employment.
It wrote that Hafidz "is not authorised to transact any business, collect any monies or act in any capacity whatsoever on behalf of our company".
Schooling's father, Colin, who sits on the board of the Schooling Sport Academy overseeing Swim Schooling, told TNP last night that it was a "sad situation".
He said: "It's quite sad when he has cheated his own friends.
"From what I heard, even his mother and wife don't know his whereabouts."
Rahman said he had been close friends with Hafidz for more than 20 years, since they were both studying at Jurong Institute (now Millennia Institute).
He received a call from him in early April.
Said Rahman: "He knew that I was a Man United fan and he said he could get tickets for me at a 20 per cent discount."
After collecting orders from his colleagues, Rahman transferred $600 to Hafidz via PayNow for the Category Three tickets.
Several planned meetings to collect the tickets were cancelled, with Hafidz coming up with reasons such as - being hospitalised for kidney stones and being on an overseas work trip.
A day before the match, the "tickets" arrived via e-mail.
Said Rahman: "But when we got to the gate and scanned our tickets, we knew we were duped.
"We were told to go to the Sports Hub counter to check and we found out that the customer number belonged to somebody else."
Rahman then tried contacting Hafidz, but the calls went to the voicemail.
Attempts to contact him on various social media accounts were also unsuccessful.
TNP tried to contact Hafidz yesterday, but was also unable to get through to him.
"If he wanted money, I would have given it to him," Rahman said.
"For him to play me and my colleagues out like this is very disappointing. I hope he is found soon, so that people can get their hard-earned money back."