The road leading up to the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) election has been filled with intrigue, with interested parties switching sides often, but a big question mark was answered yesterday when Bill Ng finally declared his intention to contest the polls.
Ng, chairman of S-League club Hougang United, issued a statement yesterday evening, saying: "Let's not kid ourselves, we loved the glory days because of the success, the icons that contributed to that success, and the way we achieved that success built the romance around the Singapore game.
"I would be honoured to bring that back, revitalise our game, and build a solid organisational foundation upon which to preserve and make our game better for our future generations."
The 57-year-old told The Straits Times: "Yes, I will be running (for the post of) president."
While he is staying silent about his slate for now, he stressed that he has quality running mates.
He said: "My team comprise diverse backgrounds and training. We have proven track records in our own areas of expertise. I will lead them and together we can improve on the systems and processes in FAS.
"And with the full support and encouragement of the stakeholders, we will have a brighter future for Singapore."
Tampines Rovers chairman Krishna Ramachandra has already announced that he has joined Ng's team and it is believed that Lau Kok Keng, a lawyer and former vice-chairman of Geylang International, is also part of the slate.
Krishna said: "I believe that Bill has assembled a team that is capable of transformative and paradigm-shifting changes. So if I can help in any way, I will.
"I had been approached by several others to run in the last few months and I had declined because I felt that the ecosystem (including the incumbents) had enough good people to make things right. But from what I have observed over the last few months, I think a radical shift in leadership is needed."
Ng is likely to face a team led by FAS provisional council president Lim Kia Tong, who can call upon current FAS vice-presidents Bernard Tan and Edwin Tong, along with former Tampines chairman Teo Hock Seng.
Ng and his slate still need to pass an integrity check conducted by the FAS' electoral committee, which includes checks on a candidate's financial, legal and police records. Matters like potential conflicts of interest will also be examined.
Ng has won support from former top Asian Football Confederation (AFC) official Peter Velappan. The 81-year-old Malaysian is in town and met Ng on Tuesday.
Velappan, who was the AFC's general secretary from 1978 to 2007, told ST: "It's my first meeting with Bill and he told me he wants to see Singapore football rise to the top again. He is youthful and energetic.
"He wants to invest his money in Singapore football and he believes he can find the resources, sponsors and donors to raise Singapore football's image in five years.
The FAS has 46 affiliates with voting rights. That means Ng feels he can garner at least 28 votes.
A simple majority is needed to win the election.
• Additional reporting by Chua Siang Yee