Freelance writer Suresh Nair will not apologise to the Football Association of Singapore (FAS), even after he was served a cease-and-desist letter by the local football governing body.
The FAS served him the letter on Saturday, in response to two articles he wrote about the resignation of Tampines Rovers chairman Krishna Ramachandra last week.
Nair, 62, told The Straits Times (ST) yesterday: "I see no reason to retract my statements or to agree to any of their demands.
"I'm absolutely able to substantiate the truth of what I've written, my follow-up interviews stand true in fact and substance."
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In his articles, he alleged that Ramachandra's resignation note, which was sent to FAS president Lim Kia Tong, deputy president Bernard Tan and Sport Singapore chief executive officer Lim Teck Yin, had been leaked to the media by the FAS council.
The sources of the claim were not named, only that they were "an S-League club vice-chairman", "another FAS club official" and "close friends".
His claim is false and baseless and is written to intentionally smear the reputation of the FAS and its leadership.
LIM KIA TONG, FAS president, on why the local football governing body is demanding a full and unreserved apology from freelance writer Suresh Nair.
The articles appeared on socio-political website The Independent and Malaysian sports news website Sports247my. A check at 7pm yesterday showed that The Independent had removed the article but it was still up on Sports247my.
In its letter, the FAS executive committee demanded Nair publish an apology on those same websites, give an undertaking that he would cease and desist from making such allegations, and confirm to the FAS whether his anonymous sources are true or fictitious.
But Nair, who is also a referee instructor, told ST: "I'm not obliged to reveal my sources and I know, as a sports journalist with three decades' experience, that I'm protected by fair comment and privilege defences. I'm also prepared, without prejudice, to clear the air with a heart-to-heart meeting."
The FAS declined to respond to Nair's latest remarks.
But, in an earlier statement, FAS chief Lim said: "In his article, he makes a very serious allegation that members of the FAS council leaked the resignation letter of Mr Krishna Ramachandra from his position as Tampines Rovers Football Club chairman to the media.
"His claim is false and baseless and is written to intentionally smear the reputation of the FAS and its leadership. The FAS Exco has written to him to demand a full and unreserved apology for his malicious accusations."
Nair tried to run for one of the individual council member positions at the April 29 FAS election, but was eventually disqualified by the Ad Hoc Electoral Appeal Committee after failing the eligibility and integrity checks.