Fifa elects first Singaporean to leadership role

Football Association of Singapore (FAS) vice-president Lim Kia Tong has become the first Singaporean to assume a leadership role on a Fifa committee. The lawyer was appointed deputy chairman of the disciplinary committee at world football's governing body during its congress in Mauritius last Friday.

Mr Lim, 59, who has been a member of the 20-man committee since 2011, takes over from Venezuela's Rafael Esquivel.

He told The Straits Times last night: "I was extremely honoured and humbled when I learnt that I had been put up for a position on such a busy and important committee in world football. To have been endorsed by the majority of the member associations gives me a lot of pride."

Mr Lim, who was selected internally to stand as the deputy chairman, was voted in en-bloc by the 208 Fifa member associations along with the rest of the new committee on a four-year term.

Fifa's disciplinary committee oversees all issues relating to matters such as doping, corruption and racism in the sport. It is one of three independent judicial bodies at Fifa, along with the appeal and ethics committees.

Mr Lim, a criminal lawyer for more than 25 years, also heads the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) disciplinary committee. He has led disciplinary proceedings against former AFC president Mohamed Hammam, later banned over bribery allegations linked to Fifa's presidential election.

FAS president Zainudin Nordin paid tribute to Mr Lim, whom he said embodies the commitment shown by the association's volunteers to raise the local game.

He said: "Kia Tong, like other committed volunteers and dedicated staff at FAS, is one of the key reasons why Singapore is well respected for our management capability and capacity in the international football arena."