Football: Spending on grassroots more than $70,000 annually, says FAS vice-president Tan

FAS president Zainudin Nordin (left) and FAS vice-president Bernard Tan speak to reporters at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Sept 24, 2016.
FAS president Zainudin Nordin (left) and FAS vice-president Bernard Tan speak to reporters at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Sept 24, 2016. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - Football Association of Singapore (FAS) vice-president Bernard Tan on Wednesday (Oct 12) defended the organisation's investment into grassroots football and said that spending was substantially more when other factors were taken into consideration.

During last month's annual general meeting, the FAS revealed that total organising expenses for grassroots competitions like the the National Football League (NFL), Island Wide League (IWL), FA Cup and Singapore 9s amounted to just over $112,000, excluding staffing costs.

This was offset by the combined income from the various club participation fees, which totalled about $41,000.

There are 10 NFL clubs and 14 IWL clubs and each paid $1,498 and $856 respectively to take part in their respective leagues and tournaments though this will be waived from next year.

That meant a nett amount of about $70,000 was spent on grassroots football in the FAS' last financial year (April last year to March this year).

Speaking to the media at the FAS' headquarters at the Jalan Besar Stadium, Tan said: "We organise 161 matches (in NFL and IWL) in total. They're played largely in stadiums, referees are of a higher calibre.

"There is also prizemoney that is completely footed ($31,000 by the FAS). When you use this as a base comparison to something like the (popular amateur football league) ESPZEN, the support for community football from the FAS into the NFL and IWL is there."

The $70,000 figure was only direct cost, he stressed, and that he estimated the FAS invested between $200,000 to $300,000 for grassroots football.

"We use a lot of the other overheads from the FAS to run the leagues. The competitions division that runs the S-League also runs the NFL and IWL. They do spend a considerable amount of time in that section," he added.

"The cost of referees are borne by the FAS. A lot of the overheads that are not allocated out to directly run the leagues are taken elsewhere in the budget...

"If you think about the cost of the stadiums, the referees, cost of people running the competitions and all that kind of stuff, you can never meet $70,000. It's not possible. You can't run these leagues on $70,000.

"So I want to clarify that the numbers we are talking about is substantially more."