SINGAPORE - The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) will hold its annual general meeting (AGM) on Sept 24.
One of the key items on the agenda will be the fraternity's ability to choose its own leaders for the first time. They are currently appointed by the government under Article 19.3 of the FAS' constitution, which states that "all council members shall be appointed by the Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports (now called the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth) - including the president - and shall, unless otherwise decided by the Minister, hold office for a period of two years".
To that end, the FAS' constitution is being amended and affiliates' and members' approval of the constitutional amendments is being sought.
After months of consultation with various key stakeholders of local football as well as global governing body Fifa and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), the FAS Constitution taskforce led by FAS vice-president Lim Kia Tong presented the further version of the proposed changes to the Constitution to the FAS Council in a closed-door meeting last Friday (Aug 19).
These additional and further changes will require Fifa's input and approval. The changes include the stipulation of the need for elections for Council members, which is in line with Fifa's regulations that apply to all football governing bodies globally. One of Fifa's key no-nos is government interference in FAs, something which has seen Indonesia, Kuwait and Benin suspended by Fifa in recent years.
Lim, who is also the deputy chairman of the Fifa Disciplinary Committee and chairman of AFC Disciplinary & Ethics Committee, said: "The review of the FAS Constitution has been a reasonably long process. The amendments which are connected with and related to the election of members of the Council have been eagerly awaited by the fraternity as a whole.
"We felt that it was necessary to take the time to engage the key stakeholders involved as this marks a new chapter in our footballing scene, and we wanted to ensure that we considered the various elements recommended by Fifa, and solicit feedback and consultation.
"We are confident that with the amendments, the Association will now be substantially in alignment with Fifa's regulatory requirements."
A Fifa spokesman confirmed that Fifa has been working in close cooperation with the FAS on the amendments of the FAS Constitution.
"In general, statutes revision processes of our member associations are a major exercise that come with many challenges. At the end of the process, elections of the FAS Council are to be held based on a new set of FAS Statutes that are in line with FIFA requirements," he said.
Heralding the move, Balestier Khalsa chairman S. Thavaneson said: "We are glad that the FAS has been meticulous and robust in its review of their Constitution, as it is not an easy task to complete. The comprehensive approach and meticulous efforts to refine and review the necessary changes is testimony to the team's dedication to achieve the best outcome for local football.
"Now that the further version of the draft is ready, we shall wait for it to be approved by Fifa and to be followed by final approval from the Registrar of Societies."
FAS expects to receive from Fifa the final ratification within the next two weeks, following which it will meet its members and affiliates prior to the AGM and elaborate on the proposed changes, among others.