AFF: TBFC's $500,000 accounted for despite admin error
Donation for Football Management System comes under 'subsidies' in documents from annual report
Tiong Bahru FC's $500,000 donation to the Asean Football Federation's (AFF) proposed Football Management System (FMS) has dominated the lead-up to the first Football Association of Singapore (FAS) election this Saturday.
While little is known of the FMS, an online portal that is aimed at helping AFF's members in the off-the-field management of the sport, there was more concern when AFF's accounts seemed not to have recorded the $500,000 entering its coffers.
Speaking to The New Paper, Azzuddin Ahmad, the AFF's general secretary and treasurer, moved to clarify the matter, showing documents that prove otherwise.
Under the "Donations" heading in the AFF's financial statements for the 2015 Annual Report, there was no record of the $500,000 the FAS paid in that year. But Azzuddin explained that the funds were instead recorded elsewhere.
"We, at the AFF, are very transparent in our accounting...(the funds are) reflected in our annual report under the heading "Subsidies"... and the accounting was done in US dollars," he said.
While there was only US$44,767 recorded as donations received by the AFF in 2015, it received US$389,587 in "subsidies".
Azzuddin showed TNP documents of the breakdown of its subsidies, with US$353,606.79 (S$500,000 based on the exchange rate of 1.414 in November 2015) received from the FAS in November 2015, and a further US$35,980 ($50,875) in futsal subsidies from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) a month later.
When asked why the $500,000 did not appear as a donation, Azzuddin clarified that it was an administrative mistake.
"It was an error on our part, I admit that, but the donation was still accounted for in our monthly accounting (reports), which were sent to (TNP). It was lumped together with the AFC subsidy for futsal," he said.
Although little is known about the AFF's FMS, Azzuddin asserted that it is all above board.
"It is in the final stage of construction. The AFF supreme body - the AFF Council - had approved the project, and all is documented," he said of the online portal that the AFF had earlier asserted will be launched within 12 months.
While sources revealed that the FMS could cost up to $2 million, Azzuddin said "it does not cost that much", but declined to elaborate further.
The donation issue has become a hot topic ahead of the FAS election this Saturday, when the national sports association's 44 affiliates will come together to elect the leadership of the Republic's football governing body for the next four years.
National Football League club Tiong Bahru FC are run by Bill Ng, who is also chairman of S.League side Hougang United.
Ng leads the Game Changers at the FAS election against Lim Kia Tong's Team LKT.
Ng's clubs have long reported big profits from their jackpot operations, with some monies being channelled into supporting various causes outside the respective clubs.
National sports agency Sport Singapore (SportSG) made a police report last Wednesday evening about a possible misuse of club funds as well as for attempts to delay and/or obstruct an audit into club accounts.
Following the report, the Commercial Affairs Department raided FAS' Jalan Besar headquarters and the three clubs linked to Ng - Tiong Bahru FC, Hougang and Woodlands.
Investigations are ongoing, with the FAS election just four days away.