FAS affiliates hope for solution in donation saga

FAS affiliates hope for solution in donation saga
FAS presidential hopeful Bill Ng. Photo: Hougang United Facebook page
Published: 4:00 AM, April 20, 2017
Updated: 11:46 AM, April 20, 2017

SINGAPORE — Even as the clock ticks down to the inaugural Football Association of Singapore (FAS) elections on April 29, the saga surrounding the S$500,000 donation from Tiong Bahru FC to the Asean Football Federation (AFF) continues to unravel.

While the controversy threatens to overshadow the FAS’ first election in its history, its affiliates are keeping a close eye on the situation as they mull their choices for the sport’s top jobs.

Hougang United chairman Bill Ng, a central figure in the developing saga over his S$500,000 donation to the AFF via FAS, will lead Team Game Changers against Team LKT, which is helmed by former FAS vice-president Lim Kia Tong.

A total of 44 affiliates are set to vote for their leaders next Saturday, and those who TODAY spoke to are adopting a wait-and-see approach for now.

“This (issue) definitely affects how we will vote at the elections, but we’re still waiting to see if more information emerges over the coming days,” said Yeong Sheau Shyan, a club official of Arion Football Academy LLP.

Yeong also called on the Government to look into the matter, as she added: “There needs to be more transparency. We need to know the full facts of the issue before we can make a proper decision. We’re getting contrasting information from different parties, so we’re not sure what’s going on. We hope that a neutral party like Sport Singapore (SportSG) can conduct their investigation into this and clarify matters before the elections.”

Gymkhana FC secretary Khairil Zam agreed that the ongoing saga had cast doubts on their picks for the new FAS council. “With this whole episode, there are now question marks about Bill and the Game Changers,” he said.

“Right now, it’s really a 50-50 thing ... I would urge both teams to refocus their attention on football and tell us why we should be voting for you.”

GFA Sporting Westlake secretary Zairi Ahmari added: “We should leave this whole episode to the relevant authorities to handle, and let the people involved answer to the authorities. What we’re more concerned about now is what the contesting teams can offer if they are voted into the FAS council, and as a NFL club, I’m keen to see what sort of plans the teams have for us.”

Even as the FAS’ affiliates hope for the donation saga to be resolved ahead of the elections, the debate and controversy surrounding Ng’s S$500,000 donation to the AFF via the FAS continue to dominate headlines.

Since this matter was made public last Thursday by Ng during a Team Game Changers’ media conference, he has traded accusations with FAS general secretary Winston Lee over the events that led to Tiong Bahru making the donation.

Some have questioned the motive behind Ng’s decision to go public with the information just weeks ahead of the elections. Ng said in a statement yesterday that he had done so out of “passion and concern for football”.

“What I have shared is just a reflection of the frustration and many uninspiring thoughts that come with dealing with the FAS administration in the last 10 years,” he added.

After repeated calls to Lee and the FAS, Lee said he would be responding to TODAY’s email queries today.