Former Tampines Rovers chairman Teo Hock Seng 'on standby' to return

Teo Hock Seng does not want to be the next FAS president, but he could help shape the direction of Singapore football as a member of Bill Ng's team, if the Hougang United chairman's manifesto appeals to him.
Teo Hock Seng does not want to be the next FAS president, but he could help shape the direction of Singapore football as a member of Bill Ng's team, if the Hougang United chairman's manifesto appeals to him.THE NEW PAPER FILE PHOTO

Former Tampines chairman, 70, could join Bill Ng's team contesting the FAS elections

He had announced his exit from the local football scene after 15 successful years last November.

But Teo Hock Seng is reportedly considering returning to local football for an even bigger role - to help chart the future of the Football Association of Singapore (FAS).

The ex-Tampines Rovers chairman, who helmed the S-League club from 2000 to 2015, has been approached by Hougang United chairman Bill Ng to join his team contesting in the FAS elections.

The FAS is holding an election for its leaders for the first time in over 30 years. It is expected to take place later this year.

Teo said yesterday: "I have been approached by Bill Ng to help out, not in the top seat but to contribute from a visionary or technical viewpoint. I will need to see what is his manifesto. It is all very preliminary and my last SMS to Bill was 'No'. But I am on standby."

Ng, 56, who has been chairman of Hougang since 2009, added: "Yes, I have approached Hock Seng. We are considering running for the election. I feel it is not difficult to turn Singapore football around."

  • FAS PRESIDENCY: A FOUR-CORNERED FIGHT?

    1 LEADER: FAS vice-president Lim Kia Tong

    KEY MEMBERS: FAS V-P Bernard Tan and Balestier Khalsa chairman S. Thavaneson.

    2 LEADER: Bill Ng, Hougang United chairman

    KEY MEMBER: Teo Hock Seng, former Tampines Rovers chairman?

    3 An unnamed team boasting a former Lions captain, coaches and administrators.

    4 A yet-unnamed team, with R. Vengadasalam as its campaign manager.

The election is developing into a four-cornered fight.

Former Woodlands Wellington general manager R. Vengadasalam has revealed that he is helping an unnamed team as its campaign manager. And the fourth team - a contingent of former players and officials - has been walking the ground to rally the clubs from the S-League, National Football League and Islandwide League.

FAS vice-president Lim Kia Tong is believed to be leading a team from the association that includes fellow vice-president Bernard Tan and Balestier Khalsa chairman S. Thavaneson.

The FAS will hold its annual general meeting on Sept 24, when it will seek to amend its constitution to allow for a full election of its council members.

Previous council members were appointed by the Government. This was in breach of Fifa's regulations, which frowns upon government interference in football associations, something which has seen Indonesia, Kuwait and Benin being suspended in recent years.

The lack of clarity in the identities of the election hopefuls could be attributed to concerns over the criteria for candidacy. The candidates hope FAS officials in charge of amending the constitution will be transparent about the process.

In an update sent on Tuesday, the FAS said that "these changes include amendments to eligibility requirements and integrity checks required for potential nominees".

Apart from his successful spell with the Stags, which brought the club five S-League titles, three Singapore Cups and an Asean Club Championship trophy, Teo is also the chairman of the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix and managing director of Komoco Motors.

The 70-year-old feels that he is still able to contribute to Singapore football, saying: "Football is in my blood. A number of people had asked me to come back, to run in the election.

"I have taken my rest. If Bill's manifesto is good, I am ready to give my two cents' worth. But I don't want to drive it (be FAS president) and lead it, but as an intermediary.

"Bill has done well in Hougang and kept the team going for a few seasons now. His (election) team must have a clear view and must work together and be stitched together by a common target. I am not interested in politicking."

In July, Venga announced that he is the campaign manager for a team and is coy on revealing who are the members of his team.

A fourth line-up is also in the mix. A member of the team told The Straits Times: "We have covered all bases. We have an ex-national skipper, coaches and good administrators. These are names that Singaporeans trust."

• Additional reporting by Chua Siang Yee

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 10, 2016, with the headline 'Teo 'on standby' to return'. Print Edition | Subscribe