Sports Hub: Minister Grace Fu urges programming boost amid change at the top

The pitch at the Kallang National Stadium at the Singapore Sports Hub, on Nov 21, 2014.
The pitch at the Kallang National Stadium at the Singapore Sports Hub, on Nov 21, 2014.PHOTO: ST FILE

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) Grace Fu yesterday said she expects the Singapore Sports Hub to improve its programming amid a leadership shuffle at the $1.33-billion facility.

Last month, former Sports Hub chief executive officer (CEO) Manu Sawhney resigned, a move which made headlines because it came after a complaint about his leadership style.

Chief operating officer Oon Jin Teik was subsequently appointed acting CEO by Sports Hub Pte Ltd (SHPL), the consortium which runs the Sports Hub.

In her first comments about the Sports Hub since Sawhney's resignation, Ms Fu said: "Sport Singapore made some comments about this and that represents MCCY's position as well. We look forward to a stronger Sports Hub with more programming that caters to the local and international crowd."

Asked if she hopes SHPL will wrap up its search for a new CEO quickly, she said: "It is something for them to decide."

The Sports Hub is a public-private partnership between the Government, and a consortium of four firms comprising Infrared Capital Partners, Dragages Singapore, Global Spectrum and Cushman & Wakefield Facilities & Engineering.

BROAD APPEAL

We look forward to a stronger Sports Hub... that caters to the local and international crowd.

GRACE FU, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, believes that the Sports Hub can do more to improve its line-up of activities.

The consortium designed, built and currently operates the facility, in return for an annual payment from the Government, via SportSG.

After Sawhney stepped down despite the SPHL board clearing him following a review of the complaint, a SportSG spokesman had said: "SHPL also needs to put in more effort to enhance the range of offerings for sport and entertainment at the Sports Hub. They have given us their assurance that they will do so."

Sawhney's resignation comes before a busy period for the Hub. The National Stadium will host two-time World Cup football winners Argentina next week, and before that the Scotland-Italy international rugby Test on Saturday.

Next month will see European football giants Chelsea, Bayern Munich and Inter Milan lock horns at the same venue for the International Champions Cup tournament.

Asked when a new CEO would be appointed, a spokesman for Infrared Capital Partners, the majority shareholder, told The Straits Times: "The board has every confidence in (Oon's) ability to lead the Sports Hub. The board is considering the long-term position of the CEO appointment and will provide relevant updates in due course.

"It is business as usual and the Sports Hub remains focused on developing a vibrant repertoire of events and delivering great experiences."

Chua Siang Yee

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 05, 2017, with the headline 'Minister Fu urges line-up boost even amid change at top'. Print Edition | Subscribe