AFC aware of controversy in lead-up to FAS election
Continental body 'aware of allegations' in lead-up to FAS election
The ongoing "Donategate" among four parties - the Football Association of Singapore (FAS), the Asean Football Federation (AFF) and both teams running for office at the FAS election on April 29 - has caught the attention of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
A $500,000 donation made by National Football League side Tiong Bahru FC and channelled to the AFF through the FAS in 2015 has become the main issue of contention in the lead-up to the FAS' first election, with the continental body now paying close attention.
The donation was for a Football Management System (FMS), an online portal aimed at helping member nations with the sport's administration.
Sources said that the FMS - which the AFF asserted will be launched within the next year - will cost up to $2 million.
"This is primarily a matter for the FAS but the AFC is aware of the allegations and will continue to monitor the situation," AFC general secretary Windsor John told The New Paper yesterday.
Bill Ng, Tiong Bahru FC chairman and leader of the Game Changers team contesting the election, has claimed that the donation was made to the FAS, at the request of FAS general secretary Winston Lee.
While Ng claimed that it was best to ask the FAS where his club's sizable donation had gone to, Lee provided documentary evidence (see Page 1 report) in a media statement last night.
In the lead-up to last night's revelation by the FAS, the situation threw up the issue of governance at the FAS.
And it has dragged in the other team contesting the election, Team LKT. When the donation was made, Team LKT's leader Lim Kia Tong was an FAS vice-president, while some Team LKT members were also part of the organisation. They have refrained from commenting on the situation.
This is primarily a matter for the FAS but the AFC is aware of the allegations and will continue to monitor the situation.Asian Football Confederation general secretary Windsor John, on the saga over the $500,000 donation to AFF
Ng had earlier claimed that the FAS council had no knowledge of the situation.
A statement his team sent had said "the former president Mr Zainudin Nordin did not approach Mr Bill Ng over the AFF FMS at any time".
The AFF contributed to the convoluted situation yesterday.
It released a statement on its website, first saying that the donation was made by the FAS, then later clarifying that it is aware that the funds came from Tiong Bahru FC.
The AFF had replied to TNP's queries last Friday, thanking Tiong Bahru FC for the donation to support its FMS.
The AFF is made up of football associations of South-east Asian nations. It is not affiliated to the AFC or world governing body Fifa.
From 2015 to 2019, Singapore's representative in the AFF council was former FAS president Zainudin Nordin, with FAS general secretary Lee the alternative member.