FAS sues freelance writer Suresh for defamation
The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) has launched a defamation suit against writer Suresh Nair, believed to be with regard to his comments in an article on the resignation letter of Tampines Rovers chairman Krishna Ramachandra.
The New Paper has learnt that the case has gone up to the High Court, with a pre-trial conference scheduled for Sept 4.
Under its jurisdiction, the High Court hears civil cases where the claim exceeds $250,000.
The FAS will be represented by Siraj Omar and Alastiar Tan of Premier Law LLC, while Suresh has, in his corner, Dodwell + Co LLC's Alfred Dodwell.
While Suresh declined to comment, Dodwell confirmed his involvement in the case.
"We believe that journalists should be protected so they can continue to ask the hard questions, but at the same time there must be responsible journalism," said Dodwell.
"We have agreed to act in this matter with a view to first investigate and then file his defence."
The article in question was published on Suresh's personal Facebook page with the title: "This is not fair play, FAS". It also appeared on the website of The Independent, a Singapore news site, as well as Malaysian sports website, Sports247.
The Independent has since deleted the article, in its place appears this: "Deleted: FAS 'deliberate' leaks on resign letter anger Tampines Rovers", along with an apology printed by The Independent's publishers.
It read: "Please accept our deepest apologies for posting this article on our website. It was not our intention to create such an awkward and embarrassing situation for members of FAS management and council."
As of last evening, the article could still be found on Suresh's Facebook page and Sports247.
In a media statement that appeared in the Today newspaper on June 25, FAS president Lim Kia Tong said: "In his article, he makes a very serious allegation that members of the FAS Council leaked the resignation letter of Mr Krishna Ramachandran from his position as Tampines Rovers Football Club chairman to the media.
"His claim is false and baseless and is written to intentionally smear the reputation of the FAS and its leadership.
"The FAS Exco has written to him to demand a full and unreserved apology for his malicious accusations."
Sources close to Suresh reveal that he is planning to fight the case.
Suresh was put forward as an independent candidate at the FAS election in April, but his nomination did not pass the requisite eligibility checks of the FAS ad hoc electoral committee.