Men's floorball team seek help; sponsors leave after corruption allegations against sport's president

Singapore Floorball Association president Sani Mohamed Salim, who captained the national hockey team at the 2001 SEA Games, is being investigated over an alleged misuse of funds belonging to the body.
Singapore Floorball Association president Sani Mohamed Salim, who captained the national hockey team at the 2001 SEA Games, is being investigated over an alleged misuse of funds belonging to the body.PHOTO: BERITA HARIAN FILE

World c'ships hopes hit as sponsors leave due to corruption allegations against SFA chief

The men's national floorball team have issued a plea for support, following Sport Singapore's move to lodge a police report against the Singapore Floorball Association (SFA) president Sani Mohamed Salim over the alleged misappropriation of funds.

In a press release yesterday, it was revealed that Saturday's news had resulted in an exodus of sponsors, with only one standing by the team.

"All our sponsorship leads have dried up since the news first broke regarding the allegations," said assistant coach Mark Song.

"We feel that this may be due to the negative association arising out of this saga, and we've lost all but one of our sponsors."

The press release included a request for help: "For parties interested in offering assistance or aid to the Singapore Men's National Floorball team, the team can be reached at singaporefloorball@gmail.com."

One of the alternatives the team, who have been courting corporate sponsors since the start of the year, are looking at now is crowd funding.

They are also in discussions with SportSG.

The need for financial support is particularly pressing as the team are preparing to compete in December's World Floorball Championships (WFC) in Riga, Latvia.

They need an estimated $80,000 to compete at the tournament, and with airfare and accommodation costs to settle soon, "the earlier we can secure the funding, the better", said Joanna Lam, sponsorship manager of the men's team.

Failure to secure that amount could mean players - who include working professionals, students and volunteers - having to fork out about $3,000 each, a sum not all can afford.

However, Lam conceded that "crowdfunding relies on the goodwill of the public and the trust they have in the national team".

In the statement, it was also revealed that netizens had pointed fingers at the beleaguered SFA and its members for being involved with the missing funds.

Song said: "The public feels that the national team have somehow been involved in and misused taxpayers' money, which couldn't be further from the truth."

Lam said the team would be "as careful and as transparent as we can be" when implementing the crowdfunding initiative.

"We would like the public to know that all funds raised will strictly be used only to fund the national men's team's costs to compete in WFC," she added.

Asked about the mood in the camp, she said: "We were relatively taken aback when the news first broke, but the men's national team committee has and is managing the players to put all their focus into training hard for WFC regardless. This is our first and foremost priority.

"The floorball community has rallied strongly during this difficult period and shown much support for the national team, and hence all of us are currently trying to stay positive.

"We will definitely try to work through all of this to still give our best showing during WFC no matter what."

Sani, a former national hockey player who is employed by SportSG, is suspended from duty while police investigations are ongoing.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 18, 2016, with the headline 'Men's floorball team seek help'. Print Edition | Subscribe