Football: Balestier United men cry foul over ban and fine for brawl

A Disciplinary Committee has banned Balestier from participating in the FA Cup for the next two years and given them a $1,000 fine.
A Disciplinary Committee has banned Balestier from participating in the FA Cup for the next two years and given them a $1,000 fine.PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN FOR STRAITS TIMES
A brawl broke out during a Football Association Cup first-round match between Balestier United Recreation Club (in grey and white stripes) and Safsa (in green) at the Gombak Stadium.
A brawl broke out during a Football Association Cup first-round match between Balestier United Recreation Club (in grey and white stripes) and Safsa (in green) at the Gombak Stadium. PHOTO: FACEBOOK/ FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION OF SINGAPORE

It was an incident that brought shame to the local football scene.

And for their part in the mass fracas in a Singapore FA Cup match between amateur sides Balestier United Recreation Club and Singapore Armed Forces Sports Association (Safsa) on Oct 1, they were punished by the Football Association of Singapore's Disciplinary Committee (DC) yesterday.

Balestier United were banned from participating in the FA Cup for the next two years and fined $1,000.

Three of their players, Taufik Jiahuddin, Masnashzreen Masturi and Khyruddin Khalid, were banned from taking part in all FAS-sanctioned matches and tournaments until Dec 31, 2017. Each of them was also fined $500.

Two other players, Kamarul Rusly and K. Sathiaraj, were banned from all matches until June 30 next year. The bans take effect immediately.

But the DC also noted that Syafiq Siraj sparked the fracas and did not let the Safsa captain get away scot-free.

The DC chairman, K. Balachandra, who led a five-person team which investigated the incident over two rounds of hearings, said Syafiq "was found guilty of committing provocative acts resulting in the brawl".

The 23-year-old was given "a conditional warning until Dec 31, 2017 to behave himself". This means that in the event he commits any act of misconduct during the period, he will be called up for disciplinary action which will take this incident into account.

His team-mate, Fuad Ramli, younger brother of national winger Faris Ramli, was acquitted.

Syafiq's parents accompanied him to the DC hearing at the FAS' Jalan Besar headquarters.

He insisted that he was just a victim, saying: "I denied the charge."

In a Facebook post hours after the Oct 1 incident, Syafiq claimed that his mother had also been attacked.

But the Balestier players disputed his account and were indignant about their bans. They insisted that the incident blew up after they confronted Fuad over a tackle and Syafiq, who did not play in the game, filmed the exchange.

The Balestier players then chased him towards the stands. They added that they would lodge appeals against their suspensions within the next seven days.

Masnashzreen claimed that Syafiq had instigated the brawl while using his phone to take videos of them. They gave chase after he refused to delete the videos.

Masnashzreen, 27, a fire safety officer, said: "We did not hit his mother nor hit him. He accused us falsely and has damaged our reputation. We just hope that he will apologise to us."

Taufik, 28, a food delivery rider, added: "I admit that both sides were at fault. But the punishments are so different and I feel that it's too heavy for us."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 28, 2016, with the headline 'Balestier United men cry foul over ban and fine for brawl'. Print Edition | Subscribe