FAS election 2017

Football: Four candidates launching appeals

Four candidates who failed the eligibility and integrity tests conducted by the Football Association of Singapore's Electoral Committee in their bids to be individual council members will be making appeals, with a decision on their petitions expected
Four candidates who failed the eligibility and integrity tests conducted by the Football Association of Singapore's Electoral Committee in their bids to be individual council members will be making appeals, with a decision on their petitions expected by Monday(April 10).PHOTO: ST FILE

Quartet that failed eligibility & integrity tests to stand for FAS election will state their cases

All four hopefuls who failed the eligibility and integrity tests conducted by the Football Association of Singapore's (FAS) Electoral Committee (EC) in their bids to be individual council members will be making appeals, with a decision on their petitions expected by Monday.

This includes former journalist Suresh Nair, who is running for an individual council member seat and is backing Bill Ng's Team Game Changers.

The Straits Times understands that it was a particular point on Nair's nomination form that questioned if candidates had previously placed bets on local football with Singapore Pools that raised a red flag for the committee.

Steven Tan, secretary and spokesman for the Game Changers, confirmed that the team were notified as soon as the results of the tests were made known, and that neither Nair nor the team have any qualms about providing clarification.

Tan said: "To us, it's not a big issue that the EC has asked for clarification. It's good, because you don't want to make a decision arbitrarily. It's a fair question to ask for it, and it will be given by Suresh himself.

"We trust that the appeals committee will know how to make its judgment."

FAIR ENOUGH

It's good, because you don't want to make a decision arbitrarily. It's a fair question to ask for it.

STEVEN TAN, secretary and spokesman for the Game Changers, says the FAS' Electoral Committee's concern over Suresh Nair's eligibility is not a big issue.

Tan added that Nair would not be serving as a referees' assessor - a position the 62-year-old has held since 2010 - for the FAS if there were any doubts over his eligibility.

Two other candidates - 69-year-old former Fifa referee Lai Boon Teck, and 49-year-old Hougang United honorary treasurer Jeffrey Sim - will also submit fresh forms.

Both back the Game Changers but had their applications rejected as they were not nominated by the correct official as required, a blunder Tan termed a "technicality error".

A fourth individual candidate, Kumar Appavoo, will also appeal. The 48-year-old businessman, who stood as a candidate for Radin Mas SMC at the 2015 General Election, is not affiliated to either team.

It is understood that his nomination was rejected due to a perceived lack of involvement in football.

He said: "It is just a matter of giving them more particulars so that they will have a better view of my association with sports."

Another Game Changers supporter, Moklas Ma'arof, 62, withdrew his candidacy due to personal reasons. Tan added that the team remains hopeful the secretary of National Football League (NFL) Division 2 side Kembangan United will change his mind.

He said: "It's a personal decision and we have to respect that. We believe in democracy.

"The team fully supported him when he wanted to stand as an individual council member and we still stand by him now.

"Moklas is a gentleman and he does not wish to trouble his friends with some problems that he is facing in his own club."

When contacted, K. Bala Chandran, chairman of the FAS EC, confirmed that appeals must be delivered by hand by 6pm tomorrow, with a decision on the appeals to be made by Monday.

In Article 15.4 of the Electoral Code, it states that "the decisions of the Ad Hoc Electoral Appeal Committee are final and may not be altered or reviewed by any government body or court or Court of Arbitration for Sport".

In the meantime, other individual candidates who have been given the nod to stand for the April 29 election have plans to begin reaching out to the affiliated clubs to make their case.

Sebastian Tan, a 43-year-old deputy director with the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority who is running as an independent, intends to call a press conference to share his proposed plans with clubs and the media.

Said the qualified Class 3 referee: "My plan is to focus more attention on the NFL level and below, as they've been neglected. I'm a real independent candidate and I'm very proud of this label. It shows that I'm impartial.

"My purpose in coming into this election is to forward the interests of Singapore football, regardless of which team gets voted in."


  • Additional reporting by John Pravin
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 06, 2017, with the headline 'Four candidates launching appeals'. Print Edition | Subscribe