FAS election ‘to go on despite raids’

FAS election ‘to go on despite raids’
FAS presidential hopefuls Bill Ng and Lim Kia Tong. Photos: Hougang United Facebook Page and TODAY
Published: 4:00 AM, April 21, 2017
Updated: 9:05 AM, April 21, 2017

SINGAPORE — All signs point to the inaugural Football Association of Singapore (FAS) polls still being held on April 29 despite yesterday’s police raids, after the ad hoc electoral committee (EC) said it has no power to call off the historic election or push it to a later date.

The EC’s chairperson, Mr K Bala Chandran, said that “as at this moment, (the committee) knows of no reason for any disruption of the elections”.

“The Ad Hoc Electoral Committee has no power to postpone or call off the election of the FAS Council,” he said in response to TODAY’s queries.

“The duties of the EC are primarily to supervise the administrative process relating to the FAS Council elections. Bearing this in mind, the EC is of the view that it will not be proper for the EC to comment and or give its views on the matters, which are being raised in the press and media. The Electoral Code requires the EC to act independently and impartially.”

Local sports governing body Sport Singapore (SportSG) had lodged a police report against Tiong Bahru Football Club (TBFC) for suspected misuse of club funds, as well as a purported attempt by a senior club official to obstruct the completion of audits of S.League’s sit-out clubs.

The clubhouse of TBFC, of which Team Game Changers’ presidential candidate Bill Ng is chairman, was raided by the police yesterday afternoon, along with that of Woodlands Wellington FC, one of the sit-out clubs. The police also paid a visit to the office of S.League side Hougang United, of which Ng is also chairman.

In a media statement, SportSG said it will request a meeting with the FAS ad hoc electoral committee to “clarify the way ahead” for the elections.

Despite Ng being mired in the saga, Game Changers refuted rumours that any of their nine-member slate was dropping out. Four of them turned up at a dialogue session with National Football League (NFL) representatives at Padi’s Restaurant at Bussorah Street last night — Krishna Ramachandra, Samad Allapitchay, Harman Ali and Zaki Ma’arof.

Apart from Ng, who was said to be attending to club matters, the other absent Game Changer members were Christopher Wong, Annabel Pennefather (personal reasons), Dr Teoh Chin Sim (business trip) and Lau Kok Keng (illness). Game Changers spokesman Steven Tan said: “The full slate for the elections for Team Game Changers has been confirmed for April 29, and the team is looking forward to it.”

A spokesman for Ng added that he would be “fully cooperating with the authorities” over recent developments.

The voting power lies in the hands of the 44 FAS affiliates, and the two whom TODAY spoke to indicated that their votes would not be distracted by the saga over TBFC’s donations.

“We still don’t know what happened and we have to wait for the police (to finish investigations),” said Lian Kim Fatt, honorary secretary of the Singapore Government Services Football League. “I am not looking at what happened to the donations. I am more concerned with the ideas presented (by the teams), and whether they can be implemented.”