Floorball head in alleged fund misuse

Singapore Floorball Association president Sani Mohamed Salim, who captained the national hockey team at the 2001 SEA Games, is being investigated over an alleged misuse of funds belonging to the body.
Singapore Floorball Association president Sani Mohamed Salim, who captained the national hockey team at the 2001 SEA Games, is being investigated over an alleged misuse of funds belonging to the body.BERITA HARIAN FILE PHOTO

Former national hockey captain helping police over 'misappropriation' of six-figure sum

From the high of sweeping both golds at last June's Singapore SEA Games, the sport has been floored after an alleged misappropriation of funds by the Singapore Floorball Association (SFA) president.

Yesterday, local sports governing body Sport Singapore said in a press statement: "On Saturday, 14 May 2016, Sport Singapore (SportSG) lodged a police report against Sani Mohamed Salim, president of Singapore Floorball Association (SFA) on suspicion that he had misappropriated funds belonging to SFA."

The statement added that Sani, employed by SportSG and who was the centre manager at Hougang Sports Centre, has been suspended from duty with immediate effect.

A former national hockey captain, Sani, who is believed to have personal and health problems, is now assisting police with investigations.

Sources within the fraternity told The Sunday Times that a six-figure sum is involved.

SHOCKED BUT NOT SHAKEN

We will still focus on training because we really want to put on a good show in Latvia.

UNNAMED NATIONAL FLOORBALL PLAYER, reacting to the SportSG police report against Singapore Floorball Association president Sani Mohamed Salim.

Some of the misappropriated funds were believed to have come from SFA-organised events, such as its local leagues.

Media reports of the association's financial woes surfaced last week when it was revealed they had not submitted their accounts to SportSG, thereby resulting in funding being withheld from them.

In fact, SFA have not received funding from SportSG since 2011 as they have not attained the Institution of Public Character (IPC) status, a SportSG requirement for funds to be disbursed.

In addition, according to documents on the International Floorball Federation (IFF) website, the SFA also owes it around 26,000 Swiss francs (S$36,600).

It is also believed that several national players who are accountants by profession had volunteered to help Sani with SFA's accounts, but their help was rejected.

The association's financial woes are such that the national team often had to fund their own overseas trips for competitions.

But on the floorball court, the sport is healthy with 15,000 active players - The highest in the region. The men's and women's teams are the reigning SEA Games champions.

A national player said the men's team are trying to raise $80,000 for December's World Championships in Latvia. They also had to fund their trip to the biennial championships in 2012.

He said: "We are shocked but not shaken. We will still focus on training because we really want to put on a good show in Latvia."

A former national player added: "Maybe it is time for a new management committee who are capable and who have good intentions to help the sport.

"Floorball is a popular sport and it would be a shame if it stagnated because of this."

This is not the first time a local sports association has been rocked by the misappropriation of funds.

In 2002, former Singapore Tenpin Bowling Congress (now Singapore Bowling Federation) president Dr Ong Teck Thian fled the country after siphoning between $1 million to $2 million.

Three years later, ex-Singapore Rugby Union finance executive Sean Lee allegedly embezzled $1.2 million of the association's funds. Both Dr Ong and Lee are still at large.

In 2006, ex-national water polo captain Matthew Tan was jailed nine months for forgery and misappropriating $61,714 from the Singapore Swimming Association while he was its vice-president.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 15, 2016, with the headline 'Floorball head in alleged fund misuse'. Print Edition | Subscribe