Football: Tanjong Pagar's Liu will run as an independent

Edward Liu
Edward Liu

A surprise face will turn up at the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) office at Jalan Besar Stadium tomorrow to submit his nomination to run for the association's April 29 election.

Edward Liu, chairman of Tanjong Pagar United - who have not played in the S-League since 2015 - has told The Straits Times that he will be running for one of the six individual council member positions.

The 68-year-old former FAS council member will not be joining either of the two teams who have thrown their hats into the ring.

FAS provisional council president Lim Kia Tong and Hougang United chairman Bill Ng head the opposing sides.

Both are expected to field candidates for the nine-member slates as well as others to contest the six individual positions.

Liu said that while he had not been approached by either team to join them, he was still keen to contribute to Singapore football.

GROUND LEVEL HAS BEEN NEGLECTED

Football is not just the domain of the elite. The effort that is put into developing football at the lowest levels is not sufficient.

EDWARD LIU, Tanjong Pagar United chairman, aims to be the voice for local football at the grassroots level.

He said: "Tanjong Pagar are one of the oldest established clubs in Singapore football. Despite sitting out for the past few years in the S-League, we've remained committed to growing Singapore football through conducting outreach programmes and activities.

"We're still very much in touch with the football community and its development."

Founded in 1975 as Tiong Bahru CSC, Tanjong Pagar were one of the S-League's founding clubs in 1996, when they were called Tiong Bahru United.

The team then boasted stars like former Singapore internationals Lim Tong Hai and Steven Tan in their heyday.

When the club sat out the 2005 season due to financial problems, Liu took over as the club's chairman and nursed the club back to health.

They rejoined the S-League in 2011 but withdrew after the 2014 season.

Tanjong Pagar will be competing in the upcoming Women's Premier League, and Liu hopes the Jaguars can return to the S-League "as soon as possible".

"Football is not just the domain of the elite. The effort that is put into developing football at the lowest levels is not sufficient," he said.

"I've been involved in the community and grassroots for over 40 years.

"By putting my name up and should I be elected, I would be happy to make a difference.

"I have some new ideas and I hope to be involved in new initiatives and to articulate the concerns people face at the grassroots."

Aside from Tanjong Pagar, Liu has other business interests as the founder and managing director of Conference & Exhibition Management Services, a regional event organising company.

He was awarded the Public Service Medal by the Singapore Government in 1999 and also serves as the Republic's honorary consul to the Ivory Coast.

Former Tanjong Pagar player Zahid Ahmad, 38, recalled how Liu was genuinely interested and involved in the lives of his players.

Zahid, now a full-time football coach, said: "When he came on board, he had a tight budget, yet he would personally take care of his players' welfare and our salaries.

"He sat down with each individual player when we signed our contracts while also helping us plan for a post-football career.

"While he is passionate for football, he also has a personal touch."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 24, 2017, with the headline 'Tanjong Pagar's Liu will run as an independent'. Print Edition | Subscribe