Singapore Floorball Association makes remarkable turnaround in 4 years
Singapore Floorball Association attains IPC status, after previous chief left it in a muddle in 2016
From being mired in a financial mess four years ago, the Singapore Floorball Association (SFA) has made a remarkable turnaround, attaining Institutions of a Public Character (IPC) status earlier this month.
An organisation with IPC status is allowed to issue tax- deductible receipts for donors.
Among the considerations for IPC status approval is whether the governing board members are capable of proper administration of the organisation and whether there are sufficient policies and plans in place to ensure that it is well-run.
Being granted IPC status is vindication of the good work SFA president Kenneth Ho and his team have put in, which has also showed on the court, as both the national men's and women's teams have performed with distinction in recent tournaments.
Last year, the women's team retained the SEA Games gold and placed 12th at the World Floorball Championship (WFC), their best-ever showing since the tournament switched to a one-division format in 2011.
The men's team won a SEA Games silver, adding to the Asia Oceania Floorball Confederation Cup, which the women's team also won in 2018.
Ho, 33, credited the open and transparent nature of their financial dealings - as well as having proper bookkeeping and auditing processes in place - as instrumental in getting the house in order.
He added that the IPC status bodes well for the sport's future.
"We got the sport back on track," Ho told The New Paper.
"We have to thank Sport Singapore for their support and their recognition, we are able to stand up again. The IPC news charts a good future for the sport.
"That said, we are still a growing sport and our office is also growing. So there will be hiccups along the way, but we are always looking to improve ourselves."
The IPC status will also allow SFA to apply for a matching grant from SportSG, which would go a long way in defraying overseas competition expenses, among others.
Donors also stand to benefit as they would be able to claim tax relief from their assessable income at the prevailing rate for the amount made out to SFA.
Already, the SFA has received $8,888 from an anonymous donor amid this Covid-19 crisis.
The current glow is in stark contrast to the gloomy scenario four years ago.
In May 2016, a police report was lodged against Sani Mohamed Salim, the then-SFA president, for misappropriating the association's funds.
In 2018, Sani was jailed for three counts of forgery and two criminal breach of trust charges involving $114,860 in total.
Nine similar charges involving another $31,200 were considered during sentencing.
Sani's actions left SFA with outstanding debts totalling about $139,000 as of June 2016 and a bank balance which showed it owed $32.87.
Not surprisingly, there was an exodus of sponsors.
But, with SportSG's help and under the stewardship of Ho, who was elected as interim head in May 2016, SFA has since hauled itself out of the muddle.
It doesn't stop there for Ho and his team.
The SFA is looking at ways in which it can give back to the community.
Said Ho: "We would like to give back to donors and sponsors as well. For example, floorball players who have recently completed their studies may find it tough landing jobs during this period of the Covid-19 pandemic.
"So SFA hopes to link these players to our donors and sponsors, who may have job openings or valuable internships.
"Also, with more donors and sponsors, there are more opportunities for players to compete both locally and overseas which, in turn, give mileage to the brands that have endorsed us."
On the court, there's no letting up. The men's team are eyeing a historic top-12 finish at December's WFC in Finland.
Ranked world No. 16, the Republic are drawn with Australia (13), Canada (11) and Japan (17) in the group stage.