Floorball head Sani reported for alleged misappropriation of funds
SportSG lodges police report against Sani over alleged misappropriation of funds
The police are investigating Singapore Floorball Association (SFA) president Sani Mohamad Salim, for alleged misappropriation of funds belonging to the national sports association (NSA), following a report lodged by Sport Singapore (SportSG).
In a press statement released yesterday morning, SportSG revealed that Sani, who is employed at SportSG as a centre manager for its Hougang Sports Centre, has been "suspended from official duty with immediate effect".
During the course of the police investigation on Sani, the SFA management committee will take charge of the sport.
The New Paper understands that Sani (above) was called in for meetings with SportSG last week to address the SFA's financial issues, with the police report being lodged by SportsSG soon after those meetings took place.
Last week, the Today newspaper reported that the SFA has been hit by financial problems, having failed to submit its annual audited accounts, as required of all NSAs before they can receive funding from SportSG.
The report stated that the SFA has yet to repay a debt amounting to 23,000 Swiss francs ($32,000) to the International Floorball Federation.
This comes barely a year after the Singapore floorball men and women's teams struck gold at the South-east Asia Games here last year.
The New Paper spoke to people who know Sani and they had only good things to say about the man who was a former national hockey goalkeeper and captain.
"I've got a lot of respect for him as a player and teammate. In our days as teammates in the national team, he was always very reliable when it came to training and games. I find this very hard to believe, and I honestly have nothing bad to say about the man," said former Singapore international Gerard Danker, who played alongside Sani in the 1980s and 1990s.
"And I think he has played a major part in bringing the sport of floorball to where it is today."
Introduced to Singapore in 1994, floorball has grown in leaps and bounds, seeing over 15,000 participants playing in the seven divisions of competition.
There are more than 200 schools and 100 clubs in active participation.
Danker, coach of the Singapore hockey side that participated in the 2010 Youth Olympic Games, recalled Sani offering help to train his young goalkeepers then.
"He didn't even ask for a stipend in exchange for helping us out. And while he was involved for only a short period, I really appreciated what he did then," added Danker.
A former national floorball player believed that while judgment should be reserved till the end of investigations, the general sentiment is that floorball does perhaps need a change of leadership.
"We really need to hear from him before we can say anything on the situation, but you can't deny that he's done quite a bit for the sport - he got it into the SEA Games for the first time last year, and that is definitely progress," said the player, on condition of anonymity.
"As a player, you always think that the association can do more, and most of us thought that it was just a matter of time before floorball grew to become a major sport here."
Singapore have qualified for the world championships on three occasions - 1996, 2010 and 2012 - and will fly the flag again at this year's tournament in Latvia.
SFA's money woes mean that the team will have to raise money to fund the trip there, but this is not new, as they had to do the same in 2012.
"We had to raise money to go in 2012, but I remember paying only just over $1,000 out of my own pocket.
"That wasn't too bad, especially since we weren't considered a big sport, and did not get much funding," said the player.
"But we are really confused as to why the sport, whose leagues are so well supported and so popular in schools, isn't developing as fast as it should.
"We are wondering what the problems with the SFA are, and I think we really need to hear from Sani."
I’ve got a lot of respect for him as a player and teammate. I find this (investigation) very hard to believe, and I honestly have nothing bad to say about the man.
- Former national hockey player Gerard Danker on former national captain and goalkeeper Sani Mohamad Salim