Leaked dialogue: S-League CEO Lim Chin says he was very upset over what was said

Edward Liu's contribution as Tanjong Pagar United chairman came under scrutiny when it was announced that the club would sit out the 2015 campaign.
Edward Liu's contribution as Tanjong Pagar United chairman came under scrutiny when it was announced that the club would sit out the 2015 campaign.ST FILE PHOTO
S-League CEO Lim Chin found himself under scrutiny after a private and confidential dialogue in which he was involved was leaked on the Internet. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
S-League CEO Lim Chin found himself under scrutiny after a private and confidential dialogue in which he was involved was leaked on the Internet. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

In an era of online vigilantism, S-League CEO Lim Chin found himself under scrutiny after a private and confidential dialogue in which he was involved was leaked on the Internet.

Last week, he and Tanjong Pagar United chairman Edward Liu met the club's players and staff at Queenstown Stadium to drop the bombshell that the Jaguars would sit out the 2015 campaign.

Shocked by the abrupt delivery of bad news, players and staff questioned Lim and Liu, leading to the S-League chief giving them a tongue-lashing.

"Certainly (I could have been more sympathetic)," said Lim.

"My tone was a bit loud but, certainly, I think we empathised with the players who were affected."

Since the 85-minute recording was circulated online last week, he has taken flak for his tone and choice of words in the exchange.

When Liu's contribution to the club was challenged by the players, Lim blasted back: "The chairman of the club and the management committee (are) above all of you. You are players, nobody is bigger than the club. The chairman heads the club.

"The management committee is not for you to judge... So I think you all need to know where you stand as a player, as a staff, as a coach.

"Do not ever question the chairman on his role and responsibility."

With the benefit of hindsight, Lim conceded that he was "very upset" at that point in the meeting as tempers had already begun to fray.

He explained: "It just hurt me to find that the players, in such a big forum and in front of everyone, were questioning Edward's role and what he has done for the club.

"So, at that moment, I felt that I couldn't sit down and let this continue."

The new changes will affect the livelihoods of many.

Said Leonard Koh, the Jaguars kit-man since 2011: "I can call other clubs to look for a job but vacancies are limited.

"Apart from football, which is my passion, I don't know what else I can do except to referee (he has a Class 2 licence)."

Nevertheless, Lim stressed that options remained for those able to make the grade.

He said: "I agree with the players that it will be a challenge finding another club.

"But, the honest truth is, at the end of the season, players on one-year contracts have to find places on their own, either at the same club or a new club.

"They need to work hard to prove themselves on the field."