Sports

Asean Football Federation says S$500k donation was from FAS

Asean Football Federation says S$500k donation was from FAS
(From left to right): FAS general secretary Winston Lee and Hougang United chairman Bill Ng. Photo: FAS, Hougang United/Facebook
Regional body makes statement on its website which seems to contradict FAS’ assertion that donation was made by Bill Ng’s football club directly to AFF
Published: 10:05 AM, April 18, 2017
Updated: 5:54 PM, April 18, 2017

SINGAPORE — In a fresh twist to the ongoing saga and public spat surrounding Bill Ng’s S$500,000 donation, the Asean Football Federation (AFF) has now come out to state that it had indeed received a donation of that amount from the Football Asssociation of Singapore (FAS) on Nov 4, 2015.

The South-east Asian football governing body said this in a statement posted on its website on Monday (April 17).

The statement not only explained what the Football Management System is — what Ng’s S$500,000 apparently went into supporting — but also listed the dates when it received the money and recorded its thanks to the FAS.

It said: “As a result of various queries from the media on the subject of the FMS, the AFF would like to clarify particularly on the system.

“The Asean Football Federation(AFF) 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 utilization, 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 South-east 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 December 2015, that the FA Singapore had donated a sum of SGD500,000 on 4 November 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.”

The statement, however, seems to contradict various statements made by the FAS last week over who had actually 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 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, an amateur football club that he owns.

The FAS had also said: “It is clear that the amount of $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, the FAS 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.”

On Monday (April 17), Team Game Changers which is led by Ng and will be contesting the FAS elections on April 29, issued a four-page statement to refute the FAS’ assertions.

It said that 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.

TODAY has reached out to the FAS for comments on the AFF’s latest statement.

Meanwhile, Zainudin, who stepped down as FAS president last November, has been declining to reply to media queries ever since the saga began.

The former Member of Parliament who is now the deputy principal of ITE College East, would only say via text message to TODAY on Monday: “I have stepped down and have no comment to make. Please refer questions to FAS.”

WHAT THE SAGA IS ALL ABOUT

The saga that rocked the local football community began last Thursday when Ng revealed that he had donated S$850,000 to FAS at their request through his clubs Tiong Bahru FC and Hougang United.

Ng directed the media to query FAS General Secretary Winston Lee over how the funds were used.

The latter said via an FAS statement that S$200,000 went to the LionsXII, while S$500,000 was used to support the AFF’s FMS.

The FAS then said that it “only served to facilitate the donation”, and that it had “at no time” donated to the AFF.

It also said that it was former president Zainudin Nordin who had approached 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.

However, Game Changers said: “We categorically state that all such donations were made by Tiong Bahru FC to FAS at the request of Lee.

“The former President Mr Zainudin Nordin did not approach Mr Bill Ng over the AFF FMS at any time.”

Game Changers added: “Having donated the funds to the FAS, how these funds were then used is something which only the FAS administrators can explain.

“When Bill Ng agreed to Winston’s request for a donation, it was strictly on the basis that the money was to be used to benefit Singapore football, especially our local clubs,”