Game Changers seek Fifa clarification
Twist ahead of FAS election as team LKT's Lim defends his support for NFL clubs
The New Paper revealed yesterday that the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) secretariat had sent out a circular to National Football League (NFL) clubs, a move that some felt suggested the secretariat's support for one of the two teams contesting the FAS' first election on April 29.
The e-mail sent on Wednesday to clubs competing in FAS' premier amateur competition, credited the "FAS president" for securing sponsorships for the NFL - a key battle ground featuring 23 of 44 voting affiliates at the election.
Some took issue with the e-mail because the existing FAS provisional council was dissolved on March 31, and it suggested support for the team led by former FAS provisional council president Lim Kia Tong.
Lim's rivals at the election, a team led by Bill Ng, told TNP they will be seeking clarification from world football governing body Fifa on the matter.
"Some NFL clubs have informed us that the (proposed) sponsorship is worth $250,000, with each club receiving about $10,000. They will have to pay for insurance for their players from that amount given," said Steven Tan, who is the Game Changers' spokesman.
"With the amounts mentioned, we are seriously disturbed by the situation and are seeking clarification from the FAS electoral committee (EC) and Fifa, as to the constitutionality of such actions."
Lim has disputed any claims of utilising the NFL sponsorship and insurance issues to garner votes, pointing to the fact that discussions on the NFL situation started even before the FAS called for an election on March 18.
"When I became the interim president, NFL clubs met with the council in September (2016) and again in February, where they raised concerns, in particular about subsidies and insurance. I felt their concerns were valid and wanted to take action before the new NFL season started," said Lim, a lawyer.
"It wouldn't be fair for them if I waited until after the elections. I felt it was my duty as the interim president to help as much as I could before their season started."
TNP understands that there are two choices for NFL clubs - each club can find their own insurer, with the FAS providing subsidies for such a move; or the FAS negotiates with one insurer, and funds all of it.
This decision will be taken next Tuesday.
Lim declined to comment on the circular sent by the FAS secretariat with which he has no relation at this point.
"I don't wish to comment on the FAS' communications as I'm no longer the president. I thank them for trying to reaffirm how I had taken action after our meetings with the NFL clubs, but my focus is now on the future of Singapore football as a whole," he said.
The NFL's kickoff had been delayed from this month to May 7.
Said Tan: "In the last few months since it was confirmed that the FAS will hold an election, there have been more meetings with NFL clubs than there have been in the previous few years combined.
"We have to ask: Were the incumbents serious about improving the NFL?
"It does not appear so. Why was this move of securing a sponsor, sorting out insurance for NFL players and giving them subsidies not thought of before this election was confirmed?"