CPF non-payment an honest oversight: FAS
S.League clubs in talks with CPF Board over monies for Prime League players
Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League clubs may have been flagged for a failure to pay Central Provident Fund (CPF) monies to their youth players from the Prime League, but the situation is not as dire as it appeared.
The Prime League is the reserve competition - featuring players under the age of 21 - for professional S.League sides.
The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) revealed yesterday that the S.League represented its clubs in talks with the CPF Board and stated owed monies will be paid.
It is not certain if clubs will incur fines.
"The S.League met CPF (officials) in December last year and will support in whatever way we can, to help the clubs. CPF has also been understanding in this matter as they understand it was an honest oversight due to the perception of allowances and definitely not a deliberate omission," the FAS told TNP.
TNP understands that because of the distinction between the definition of "wages" and "allowances", clubs did not pay CPF monies for Prime League players.
While some clubs have responded to CPF demands and have already paid up monies - backdated five years to 2012 - others have not.
The CPF Board's website states that CPF payments will have to be made even on transport, meal and laundry allowances. If an employee who is aged 55 and below has a monthly total wage above $50, CPF contribution is required.
Balestier Khalsa chairman S Thavaneson had earlier told TNP that his club had settled its bill in the middle of last year, and had made the required changes in its dealings with its Prime League players.
Based on the assumption that the average Prime League player earns $300, with each club maintaining a squad of 20, the annual CPF amount is around $12,000. A five-year bill would set a club back by around $60,000.
This could be a problem for clubs, who as yet don't know how much they will receive in annual subsidies, which they depend on.
Local clubs have received up to $800,000 in annual subsidies from the Tote Board in the past, but after the latest five-year funding cycle came to an end after the 2016 season, they have yet to find out how much they will be given for the 2017 season.
Clubs have already assembled the bulk of their squads and have kick-started pre-season training without financial numbers presented to them, and a sizeable reduction in the subsidy will be a serious obstacle.
But the FAS said: "All the clubs are working closely with the CPF Board to resolve the respective payments. Some have already done so and the rest are in the process."