MCCY sets up provisional FAS council prior to polls

Football Association of Singapore (FAS) vice-president Lim Kia Tong (left) speaking at the FAS Extraordinary General Meeting (EOGM) on Nov 7, 2016. With him are fellow FAS vice-president Edwin Tong (centre) and president Zainudin Nordin.
Football Association of Singapore (FAS) vice-president Lim Kia Tong (left) speaking at the FAS Extraordinary General Meeting (EOGM) on Nov 7, 2016. With him are fellow FAS vice-president Edwin Tong (centre) and president Zainudin Nordin. ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

A seven-member provisional Football Association of Singapore (FAS) council has been formed by the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY), after the current council's term expired yesterday.

The interim leadership will be helmed by new president Lim Kia Tong, who had been the FAS vice-president. He replaces outgoing football chief Zainudin Nordin.

Bernard Tan, Edwin Tong and Tan Soo Nan retained their positions as vice-presidents. Sarjit Singh (honorary treasurer), S. Thavaneson and Razali Saad (members), also kept their posts.

The council will oversee FAS until at least March 31 next year, and could stretch until May 31, by when the elections must be called.

The acting council's objective is to "ensure that all ongoing plans and programmes of the FAS will continue during this period", said Lim, who is currently in Papua New Guinea as head of the Fifa disciplinary committee for the Fifa Under-20 Women's World Cup.

As its term of office will stretch into the early part of the 2017 S-League season, among the tasks will be looking at funding of clubs.

Lim, 64, said: "One of the main aims is to iron out the immediate issues such as funding for the S-League clubs. Addressing that is crucial for the psychological stability of the players and the clubs before the new season kicks off.

"The council has to study immediately the practicality and workability of certain concepts of operating the S-League, like for instance, privatisation."

The lawyer added that they will also explore a revamp of the National Football League to a two-tier promotion and relegation system "to inject more vibrancy" into the league, and these new plans "must be put into operating gear and cannot take a back seat pending the election".

Lim had earlier stated his hopes of forming a team to contest the upcoming elections. However, he said his new position does not guarantee he will win the nomination.

He said: "Although I've indicated my hope to lead a team in the coming election, a distinct line has to be drawn of me being appointed on a provisional basis and being elected. The same holds true for any member of the council who may or may not take part in the election."

The revised FAS constitution was unanimously approved at an extraordinary general meeting on Nov 7, paving the way for the first open elections in more than 30 years. Previously, the committee was appointed by the Government, most recently MCCY.

Alvin Chia

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 16, 2016, with the headline 'MCCY sets up provisional FAS council prior to polls'. Print Edition | Subscribe