Tardy: I'm not leaving for sporting reasons
Departing FAS head of national youth teams says results will show in four years
Richard Tardy, the Football Association of Singapore's (FAS) head of national youth teams, has said that his time in the national football body is no failure, but a work in progress.
The FAS announced on Thursday that the Frenchman will leave at the end of March next year, nine months before the end of his contract, by mutual agreement.
He led the Singapore national Under-22 side at August's SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur, where they were knocked out at the group stage.
But he insisted that those results were not the reason behind his departure.
Four others - U-18 staff coach Christophe Chaintreuil, U-15 staff coach Sofiyan Hamid, head of the FAS' Goalkeeper Academy Singapore Frederic de Boever and Kok Wai Leong, the S.League's director of operations - are also leaving the organisation.
Speaking to The Straits Times from France where he is on holiday, Tardy said: "I was asked to come for a meeting last week and I was surprised.
"I am not leaving for sporting reasons - it was not because we failed to qualify at the SEA Games - we never discussed that at the meeting.
"It was a problem of economics."
ST understands that he is on a high six-figure annual salary.
National U-20 coach Fandi Ahmad has taken over the Young Lions to prepare the team for next year's Asian Games as well as the 2019 SEA Games, and Tardy said that this plan was made clear a year ago.
"For me it was clear: if they wanted to sack me I won't be staying until March next year. Right now, I'm still in charge of national youth teams and also the U-19 team," said the 67-year-old.
"I accept the FAS' decision, and I'll be professional and do my best in the job until I leave. It's not because Fandi's coming in that I'm leaving. The reasons are economic."
The FAS is facing a budget cut and is in the process of reorganising the league as well as its secretariat following April's election.
Tardy said that he has enjoyed his time here and counts the SEA Games as one of his highlights, particularly the performances against hosts Malaysia and Myanmar despite losses of 1-2 and 0-2 respectively.
He noted that he worked with a relatively young team, with 60 per cent of the squad still available for the next Games.
"We didn't qualify, but we prepared players for the future," he said.
Tardy acknowledged that much still needs to be done to improve the standard of the sport here, but insisted that there will be results if the FAS stays the course.
"We need time to change the mentality of players and help them improve physically, tactically and technically. You can't immediately feel changes," he said.
"But if we keep to the technical director's (Michel Sablon) plans, in four years you will see."