Asean Football Federation issues clarification, says S$500k donation was indeed by an NFL club
SINGAPORE - The Asean Football Federation (AFF) has issued a new statement to clarify that the S$500,000 donation that it had received to support its Football Management System (FMS) on Nov 4, 2015, via the Football Association of Singapore (FAS), did indeed come from a National Football League club (NFL), and was not a donation made in FAS’ name.
The governing body for South-east Asian football published the new statement on its website on Tuesday (April 17).
“We received a number of media queries seeking clarification on the statement published on our website earlier, the Asean Football Federation is indeed aware that the S$500,000 donation received via FA of Singapore did come from an NFL club based in Singapore.
“We apologise if our earlier statement had caused any confusion.”
The confusion had come about after the AFF first published a statement on Monday (April 17) to explain what the FMS about, and to declare who had donated the S$500,000 to it.
It said in the April 17 statement: “The Football Management System is an initiative aimed at enhancing the capabilities of football associations and clubs which will then better position them to achieve success in key result areas including but not limited to income generation, information technology, corporate governance, and facilities utilisation, among others.
“The sharing of resources among football associations in this region will strengthen ongoing efforts aimed at raising the standards of football management in Southeast Asia.
“We are in the last phase of preparations and we expect to launch the system within the next nine to 12 months.
“The AFF Council members were informed at the 3rd Council Meeting held on 6 Dec 2015, that the FA Singapore had donated a sum of SS500,000 on 4 Nov 2015 as a payment to develop the System. The Council recorded its thanks and appreciation to FA Singapore for their effort to make the project a reality.”
However, the last paragraph of the statement, seemed at odds with various media statements issued last week by the FAS over who made the S$500,000 donation to the AFF.
The FAS had previously said that it was former FAS president Zainudin Nordin, who had approached businessman Bill Ng with a proposal to support the AFF’s FMS, and that Ng had decided to donate S$500,000 directly to AFF through Tiong Bahru FC, an amateur football club that he owns.
The FAS had also said: “It is clear that the $500,000 was never meant to be donated to the FAS or any Singapore footballing activity...
“This was not a case of FAS accepting a donation and thereafter channeling the amount to AFF instead of using it for local football.”
In one of its statements, issued on April 14, the FAS had also provided a quote which it said was from the AFF.
It told TODAY that the quote was to be attributed to “an AFF spokesman”.
The quote said: “We are thankful to our donors and partners who have come onboard to support this new programme, including one of the FA Singapore NFL clubs who donated S$500,000 towards the system.”
TEAM GAME CHANGERS HITS BACK
On Monday (April 17), Team Game Changers which is led by Ng and will contest the FAS elections on April 29, issued a four-page statement to refute the FAS’ assertions.
It said Ng had always been under the impression that the S$500,000 donation would be used to benefit local football, and that he was unaware that the money was going to the AFF.
It added that the various cheques, amounting to S$500,000, were made out to the FAS, and not the AFF.
Team Game Changers also pinpointed FAS general secretary Winston Lee as the person who had approached Ng directly about the donation.
It also added that it was “very unusual” that Tiong Bahru had “never received” any form of acknowledgement or receipt for the donation from the AFF or FAS, nor any account of how the funds were used.
In an email response to queries from TODAY, AFF General Secretary Lt Gen (Retired) Dato’ Sri Azzuddin Ahmad said on Tuesday: “As indicated in the press release, the amount of S$500,000 was received in full by the AFF on 4th November 2015 directly from the FAS.
“There is no contradiction with the earlier statement as when the statement on April 14 was made, the AFF was informed that the amounts had been sourced from one of the NFL clubs by the FAS.”