SportSG concerned about FAS delays
SportSG concerned about FAS' constitutional changes, elections and 'limbo', if process drags on
There was a clarification of processes, an explanation of the current football ecosystem in the Republic and an exchange of ideas, but the underlying message from Sport Singapore (SportSG) was simple and clear.
The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) election must take place, and soon.
The national sports authority invited 39 of the FAS' 46 affiliates for a meeting yesterday morning and, while only 15 showed up, those who were present lauded the constructive session, leaving with a sense that they all could do more for Singapore football, if they were united in the interest of the sport.
The FAS' Extraordinary General Meeting (EOGM) is slated for Nov 7, when the National Sport Association's (NSA) constitution will be amended, a process if unsuccessful, will not allow for democratic elections to take place.
A SportSG spokesman told local media that there was "concern" that certain parties in the football fraternity have "hijacked" the agenda, possibly clouding the thinking of all in the fraternity.
"This is one particular sport where we cannot allow the NSA to quibble and be dysfunctional. We don't want the FAS to become one of those," he said.
And there is good reason for that.
The FAS' multi-year funding cycle from SportSG comes to an end this year and, without a functional team in place, SportSG will have to fall back on previously made plans as a gauge of how to fund the sport.
It is not a situation unique to football - SportSG bases its funding quantum on the plans each NSA puts in place.
But because world governing body Fifa has made it clear that the FAS must change its constitution to conduct democratic elections, football has been thrown into a purgatory of sorts.
Football must sort its situation out for its wheels to crank back into gear - and that can only start with a passing of the constitution on Nov 7.
"If it becomes that scenario (in which the FAS constitution is not passed on Nov 7 and the elections are delayed), it becomes very hard for us, custodians of the public's money," said the SportSG spokesman.
"If we continue to go through this period where no decision is made and the constitution is not passed, then the FAS will remain in limbo.
"A lot of capacity will then be invested in this situation and, as a result, attention will be drawn away from important things such as making sure our various national football teams can perform, especially with the AFF Suzuki Cup coming up next month, and next year's SEA Games football tournament."
If the elections are held, but a disunited, dysfunctional team end up being installed in the FAS leadership, the situation could well get worse.
In response to queries from the media, the SportSG spokesman said that funding for the FAS could well be cut.
"That's a possible scenario, but that's not a desirable scenario for us," he said.
But yesterday's meeting between SportSG and the 15 FAS affiliates seemed to have parted dark clouds allowing for rays of sunshine to fall on football.
"It was extremely encouraging that SportSG decided to engage the stakeholders in football. It was a candid and engaging discussion with a no-holds-barred approach," said one club representative who declined to be named.
He revealed that SportSG helped clarify the FAS constitution as well as the implications should the current situation be dragged on.
"Everyone left with a sense that we can do more for Singapore football, if we can learn to work together in the interest of the most loved sport in Singapore," he said.
"The quicker they pass the constitution... and hold the elections, the better it is for Singapore football."
- SportSG spokesman