NSAs braced for budget cuts
With less financial support, table tennis chief Lee projects a deficit for STTA this year
National Sports Associations (NSAs) here did Singapore proud at the 2015 South-east Asia Games with a record 84-gold medal haul.
They managed the feat on the back of additional funding from Sport Singapore, but the picture appears distinctly different ahead of this year's Games in Kuala Lumpur.
Sources have told The New Paper that NSAs are bracing themselves for a funding cut of between 10 per cent and 30 per cent.
The NSAs function on a financial year that runs from April 1 to March 31 the following year, and while they normally would have been told of funding quantums by now, it has not happened this year.
Responding to queries from TNP, Singapore Sports Institute's director for NSA partnership, Leonard Pattiselanno, said: "Sport Singapore's funding exercise for NSAs is currently ongoing and the quantum of funding support has yet to be finalised for the new financial year.
"As the custodian of public funds, we continue to work with our NSAs to remain prudent and to strive towards improving productivity across all their work processes."
But word has reached NSAs and some are already tightening their belts, expecting budget cuts.
Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) president Ellen Lee declined to reveal figures, but said: "The cuts that we understand will happen are significant enough for us to go into deficit."
"We have projected a deficit this year because of the cut in funding and also because sponsorships have come down because of the downturn in the economy," she added, revealing that several sponsors have already pulled out.
The STTA has been one of the most successful NSAs in terms of securing sponsorships in recent times, including with isotonic drink 100 Plus.
Before swimming star Joseph Schooling's gold medal feat at last year's Rio Games, the paddlers were Singapore's best hopes for an Olympic medal, winning one silver and two bronzes between 2008 and 2012.
The Singapore Hockey Federation (SHF) is also concerned.
"There is very strong word on the ground that there will be cuts in funding," said SHF president Mathavan Devadas.
"We hope that we can keep our staff, because a large part of our funding goes to coaches and administrative staff," he said.
"The other issue is the various programmes that we're running. Some junior programmes are starting to show positive results and with cuts in funding, we may have to downsize.
"We have restricted several of our contracts to end on March 31, 2017 as we do not want to commit to any spending until we are sure of our budget."
The SHF has hosted various international events in the last few years, including last year's Women's Asian Champions Trophy that featured top sides India, Japan and Korea.
But Singapore will see no top-level hockey action in the next two years, at least.
Lee is also fearful of the repercussions if there is a significant cut.
But, she said: "This will affect everybody. We can't work in a way that our elite programme doesn't face cuts but others suffer.
"We will see impact from the elite to the grassroots, and from athletes to (administrative) staff. Our programmes will be affected too, but we will try as much as possible to mitigate the impact.
"We will just have to dig into our reserves in order to continue programmes that are necessary to promote the game, and sustain interest."
To cope with the reduced funding, the STTA is planning fund-raising events, Lee added.