Football: Krishna quits as Tampines chairman

During Krishna Ramachandra's two-year tenure, Tampines have had highlights such as the signing of former England winger Jermaine Pennant last season.
During Krishna Ramachandra's two-year tenure, Tampines have had highlights such as the signing of former England winger Jermaine Pennant last season. ST FILE PHOTO

He cites demands of legal career as reason for departure, despite club's cash-flow issues

Krishna Ramachandra will step down as chairman of five-time S-League champions Tampines Rovers, less than two years after taking over the chairmanship from Teo Hock Seng in November 2015.

And while the club appear to be mired in cash-flow issues last season, the corporate lawyer insists the Stags are in a sound financial position for now.

Explaining his decision to quit, Krishna, who is managing director of law firm Duane Morris & Selvam LLP, said he could no longer volunteer " at the level of intensity that is needed".

The 45-year-old, who was part of the Game Changers team which lost in the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) election in April, said: "The high demands of my professional career have overtaken my ability to keep volunteering at the level of intensity that is needed to fulfil the role of chairman.

"I intend to step down in the coming weeks, in any event no earlier than after Tampines' 2016 accounts have been audited and finalised.

"I will be dealing with all outstanding queries relating to Tampines' statement of accounts before stepping down.

"It has been an honour and privilege to serve this wonderful club. I will, however, remain a committee member, to assist in this transition."

It is believed a new candidate for chairman has been identified and his name has been lodged with the FAS for approval.

WHY HE IS QUITTING

The high demands of my professional career have overtaken my ability to keep volunteering at the level of intensity that is needed to fulfil the role of chairman.

KRISHNA RAMACHANDRA , on his decision to step down as Tampines Rovers chairman.

The Straits Times asked the FAS when it would make the new appointment and if it was concerned about the timing of Krishna's decision, but the FAS did not respond by press time.

The leadership change comes as Tampines find themselves plagued by money woes. In May, The New Paper reported that several players and staff had been asked to meet the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board over the club's late CPF payments.

That same month, former sponsor Komoco Motors sent the club a letter of demand over a $190,000 sum it had made to the Stags, according to a Today report.

The cash-flow issues arose in part due to Krishna's decision to stop running jackpot machines, although the club have since re-applied for a licence from the Police Licencing and Regulatory Department.

The outgoing chairman said the club's finances are sound and added that he has loaned the club $1 million to tide things through.

On the obstacles he faced, Krishna said: "There have been challenges along the way, but it was a good learning experience.

"I have absolutely no regrets on the footballing experience I have had in the last six years and I will certainly continue supporting Singapore football."

Tampines striker Fazrul Nawaz said the players were surprised when Krishna informed them of his decision via WhatsApp before training yesterday but added that morale has not taken a hit.

He said: "Coach Jurgen (Raab) gathered us for a short meeting to explain the chairman's decision. Chairman said he will speak to us soon and we are looking forward to meeting him. As players, we just want to do our job and right now we are focused on today's game against Warriors FC."

The Stags are currently second in the S-League, seven points behind leaders Albirex Niigata.

Money woes aside, the club witnessed some highlights during Krishna's tenure, including the signing of former Arsenal and Liverpool winger Jermaine Pennant, a move which set the league alight last year, albeit briefly.

The Stags also reached the quarter-finals of the Asian Football Confederation Cup for the first time since 2007. The Cup run saw them become the first S-League club to play at the new National Stadium when they took on Selangor at the 55,000-capacity venue.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 22, 2017, with the headline 'Tampines chairman Krishna steps down'. Print Edition | Subscribe