Skip to main content

Advertisement

Advertisement

FAS defends move to name nine footballers who broke curfew, says thorough investigation conducted

SINGAPORE — The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) has defended its move to name the nine football players who broke curfew while at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Manila, saying naming them was “absolutely necessary” and that it only did so after conducting a thorough investigation.

The Young Lions finished fourth in the six-team Group B with one win, one draw and three losses and failed to reach the semi-finals.

The Young Lions finished fourth in the six-team Group B with one win, one draw and three losses and failed to reach the semi-finals.

SINGAPORE — The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) has defended its move to name the nine football players who broke curfew while at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Manila, saying naming them was “absolutely necessary” and that it only did so after conducting a thorough investigation.

Responding to queries from TODAY on Thursday (Dec 12), a spokesperson from FAS said: “Naming the players was absolutely necessary as there was a need to be transparent and accountable not just to our stakeholders but also to the public”.

The decision by FAS to name all nine Young Lions was criticised by Mr Chris Chan, the Secretary-General of the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC), who said that it was unfair to do so before completing a thorough investigation. Mr Chan also said that the incident falls under SNOC’s jurisdiction.

In response to Mr Chan’s comments, FAS’ spokesperson said: “We also note SNOC’s view that it has jurisdiction over the nine players given that they were representatives of Team Singapore at the SEA Games. Much as we respect the desire of the SNOC in handling the disciplinary process, FAS has an equal right to consider and to put its disciplinary process in motion as well”.

Mr Chan’s criticism of FAS’ decision has also thrown negative light on the association, the spokesperson added.

THOROUGH INVESTIGATION CONDUCTED

According to FAS, the Young Lions’ head coach Fandi Ahmad, its team manager and FAS’ technical director conducted a thorough investigation on Dec 2, the day after the curfew breach took place.

It was reported by The Straits Times that the nine players left their rooms after 11pm, which was the curfew time, and visited the casino at Solaire Resort and Casino, only to return in the wee hours.

Among the evidence collected during the investigation was the audio recordings of the first six players who were named, each of them admitting to the curfew break, FAS said.

There was also a written statement from each of them, the association’s spokesperson added.

“The names of the six players were only revealed days after the completion of a thorough investigation, namely on December 5, upon the completion of the last match of the team’s group stage matches,” he added.

The six players initially named are Tajeli Salamat, Joshua Pereira, Zulqarnaen Suzliman, Zharfan Rohaizad, Kenji Rusydi and Lionel Tan.

FAS said that it also conducted an equally thorough investigation for the other three players — Shah Shahiran, Hami Syahin and Saifullah Akbar — and found no justification to withhold their names based on the evidence secured.

PREVIOUS DISCIPLINARY ISSUE

There have been disciplinary issues involving athletes at previous international meets.

Most notably, at the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea in 2014, three swimmers left the Athletes' Village without officials' permission and went drinking, before returning to the village in the early hours of the following day.

The swimmers were not named at first, but TODAY learnt that they were Joseph Schooling, Roanne Ho and Teo Zhen Ren.

The incident happened a day after the swimming competition ended, and after Schooling had clinched Singapore’s first gold medal in 32 years by a male swimmer at the Asian Games in a new Games record of 51.76sec in the 100m butterfly.

When contacted then, Singapore Swimming Association executive director Edwin Ker had said: “All athletes are under the jurisdiction and care of the chef-de-mission and SNOC at the major Games. Please direct all queries to them... during the major Games.”

The SNOC later conducted an investigation into the incident and issued the trio a warning.

WAS FAS TOO HARSH?

Some members of the football fraternity in Singapore disagreed with the FAS’ decision to name the players.

Mr R Sasikumar, a former national footballer and founder of sports marketing agency Red Card Global, felt that the move smacked of poor leadership and communication strategies, and it was akin to “throwing the boys under the bus”.

“These boys did not commit a crime. These boys did not murder someone or anything like that,” he said.

“Going out is not a criminal thing. It’s a moral issue. It’s breaking rules of the team and stuff like that. But to put their names out… it’s in very, very poor taste.”

Instead, Mr Sasikumar said the matter should have been dealt with internally, away from the public eye.

What the boys did was not right and they have to be punished, but Mr Sasikumar said a more effective form of punishment would be community service.

Mr Rafi Ali, a former national footballer and coach, felt that FAS should have followed the proper procedure and let SNOC complete its investigations first before deciding on the method of punishment for the football players.

“It should be done the proper way. Knowing SNOC and how they work, they will investigate everything, lay down the appropriate punishment and tell FAS, and FAS make a decision,” he said.

Besides SNOC, some members of the public have also criticised FAS’ move, saying that it’s a diversionary tactic employed to distract the public from the team’s poor performance at this year’s SEA Games.

The Young Lions finished fourth in the six-team Group B with one win, one draw and three losses and failed to reach the semi-finals.

Mr Rafi believes FAS intention to name the players was not to distract the public.

“You cannot cheat the public. They watched the games, they know how this team performed during the SEA Games,” he said.

Mr Sasikumar said that neither the players nor the organisation came out looking good from this episode.

“Let’s not skirt around the issue and blame the boys… The issue is leadership, poor leadership,” he said.

Related topics

SEA Games 2019 football Singapore National Olympic Council Young Lions Football Association of Singapore

Read more of the latest in

Advertisement

Popular

Advertisement

Stay in the know. Anytime. Anywhere.

Subscribe to get daily news updates, insights and must reads delivered straight to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, I agree for my personal data to be used to send me TODAY newsletters, promotional offers and for research and analysis.