Six S'pore U-22 footballers who broke curfew to face disciplinary hearing
The six Singapore Under-22 players who broke team curfew while on national duty at the SEA Games can expect stiff sanctions from the Football Association of Singapore (FAS), unless they have compelling justifications.
The errant six – Tajeli Salamat, Joshua Pereira, Zulqarnaen Suzliman, Zharfan Rohaizad, Kenji Rusydi and Lionel Tan – had reportedly broken team curfew last Sunday night, after Singapore's 3-0 loss to Thailand, leaving the team's base at Century Park Hotel in Manila and returning only in the wee hours.
Their actions contravened the Code of Conduct that all national players are expected to abide by, said the FAS in a media statement on Friday (Dec 6).
FAS president Lim Kia Tong, who is on duty as the chairman of the AFC Disciplinary & Ethic Committee for the men’s and women’s football competitions at the SEA Games, expressed his absolute disappointment at the misconduct of these players.
He said: “The curfews in place, besides ensuring the players’ safety and security, are to instil discipline and to ensure that the players are well rested and ready to carry out their mission for the country in football.
“Breaking curfew hours is deplorable and totally against the very values which every footballer is expected to uphold as the ambassador of Singapore at competitions. Their acts were calculated and done with the blatant disregard of the Code of Conduct.
"At that stage of the competition when they should have been fully focused on bringing pride back to the game for Singapore, their behaviour affected and dented the capability and morale of the team and they have let down the entire nation.
"Without any question, they will face the FAS Disciplinary Committee which will be convened without delay after their return.”
Singapore U-22 coach Fandi Ahmad said: “I am utterly disappointed with the players and I have let them know as much. They are here not only as representatives of the Football Association of Singapore but also Team Singapore and should have known the value of the flag they are bearing.
"This was another unnecessary set-back for the team during what turned out as a difficult campaign for us.”
After the players broke curfew, an internal investigation was conducted by the Singapore Under-22 team officials before the matter was reported to the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC), which confirmed on Thursday that the six players "were given a stern formal warning and will face disciplinary hearings upon their return to Singapore after the SEA Games”.
This was not the first time that athletes had broken team curfew while on national duty.
At the 2014 Asian Games in South Korea, swimmers Joseph Schooling, Teo Zhen Ren and Roanne Ho were issued warning letters by the SNOC after leaving the Athletes’ Village without permission.
In 2010, five members of the senior national football team were fined $500 for staying up late during their botched AFF Suzuki Cup campaign in Hanoi.
They were caught playing card games in a player’s hotel room at about 1am – hours after the team had beaten Myanmar 2-1.
It was also two days before their vital clash with Vietnam, which they eventually lost, resulting in their exit at the group stage.
The Young Lions' loss to Thailand on Sunday, which came after a 0-0 draw with Laos and a 2-0 defeat by Indonesia, had left them with only a mathematical chance of qualifying for the semi-finals.
They eventually crashed out after losing 1-0 to Vietnam on Tuesday, two days before a 7-0 win over 10-man Brunei in an inconsequential match.