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FAS technical director to step down for health and personal reasons linked to Covid-19

SINGAPORE — Football Association of Singapore (FAS) technical director Joseph Palatsides will be leaving the organisation at the end of the year for “personal and health reasons brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic”, said FAS in a statement on Tuesday (Nov 9).

Football Association of Singapore's technical director Joseph Palatsides (pictured) was appointed for the role in May 2019 to oversee the development of football in Singapore.

Football Association of Singapore's technical director Joseph Palatsides (pictured) was appointed for the role in May 2019 to oversee the development of football in Singapore.

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  • Football Association of Singapore's technical director Joseph Palatsides will be leaving the organisation at the end of the year 
  • This is due to personal and health reasons brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, the association said
  • The Singapore Swimming Association announced on the same day that its water polo technical director will leave at the end of November
  • This is due to medical emergencies in his family

 

SINGAPORE — Mr Joseph Palatsides, technical director of the Football Association of Singapore (FAS), will be leaving the organisation at the end of the year for personal and health reasons brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, FAS said in a statement on Tuesday (Nov 9). 

The announcement came after the association said previously in June that Mr Palatsides had agreed to extend his contract by two years until 2023. 

FAS did not elaborate more on the reasons for Mr Palatsides’ departure. 

The Australian, who will be leaving on Dec 31 this year, was appointed as technical director in May 2019 to oversee the development of football in Singapore. 

Mr Palatsides, who thanked the FAS council and management for their support, said in the statement: “I am both sorry and disappointed that the current Covid-19 circumstances have resulted in me having to make this very difficult decision to end this relationship prematurely... being with my family at this juncture is of huge importance.”  

He is heartened that the team he is leaving behind are “dedicated and motivated individuals, who are capable themselves to continue the objective of elevating Singapore football”, he added.

In an interview with TODAY in March on Singapore’s lofty goal of qualifying for the 2034 World Cup, Mr Palatisides expressed hope that there could be a sustainable youth development model that allows players to be nurtured from a young age. 

The Straits Times reported on Tuesday that Mr Palatisides had taken leave in August and returned to Australia. The newspaper also quoted the former defender as saying on Tuesday that he is likely to join A-League's Melbourne Victory as its new head of academy.

FAS said that under Mr Palatsides’ leadership, its technical department had taken the “unprecedented step” of holding open trials for players of various age groups to assess their potential and widen the pool of youth players. 

“His efforts in youth development were recognised by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) under the Elite Youth Scheme in 2020 when Singapore was offered full membership into the programme,” FAS noted. 

Mr Palatsides also reviewed and revamped the curriculum for football coaches and this is now being rolled out for all levels of coaches in Singapore, FAS added.. 

FAS' president Lim Kia Tong said that the associaton places priority on the well-being of its staff members and this is “even more important in this Covid-19 era”. 

“It is unfortunate that we have to part ways with Joseph, but we have to make this difficult decision given the circumstances,” Mr Lim said.

He added that Mr Palatsides has laid down the foundation for “an aligned football philosophy” together with the national staff coaches, including Young Lions head coach Philippe Aw and national team head coach Tatsuma Yoshida.

FAS said that Mr Aw will assume the role of interim technical director while the FAS begins its search for a permanent replacement for the position.

TODAY has reached out to Mr Palatsides for comment. 

WATER POLO TECHNICAL DIRECTOR TO LEAVE POST 

On Tuesday, a separate announcement was made by the Singapore Swimming Association, that its water polo technical director Paul Oberman will be relinquishing his post at the end of the month to return to Australia “due to some medical emergencies in his family”. 

He will be leaving for Australia on Saturday. 

Mr Oberman said in a statement on Tuesday he has faith that the present water polo leadership has placed the sport “on a great path” to achieve success. 

He also said that the sport needs to improve on letting its athletes take part in more domestic and international matches in order to increase their exposure. 

“(By) performing under pressure and duress, the players, coaches and referees will improve, (thus taking) the sport to a higher level.”

Thanking SSA for its support, he added: “My heart is with Singapore, and I have many lifelong friends here that have rallied to support me during this difficult time.” 

SSA said that during his tenure, Mr Oberman has helped the association review and improve its plans and developed the technical capabilities of coaches. 

Mr Dominic Soh, SSA’s vice-president for water polo, said that in his time here, Mr Oberman has built up good relations with various stakeholders such as water polo clubs, coaches and athletes, who have worked together for the betterment of the sport. 

“While we would have liked Paul to stay on, we understand the predicament that he and his family are facing, and we fully support his decision to return to Australia,” Mr Soh said. 

SSA said that it has already begun the process of searching for a technical director and will announce this appointment in due time. 

Related topics

Covid-19 FAS Sports Joseph Palatsides Paul Oberman football swimming

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