SINGAPORE - Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin, who is president of the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC), yesterday reminded local sports officials of their duty to sport and athletes, as doping and corruption scandals cast a shadow on the international sports scene.
In a blog post as well as letters to member national sports associations, Mr Tan said: "In light of these crises, we must remind ourselves of our purpose and the responsibilities we have on hand, and to conduct ourselves and act above board at all times."
His post comes as several prominent sports find themselves in the headlines for the wrong reasons.
World football body Fifa, which has been fighting allegations of corruption for years, has been hit by bribery scandals in recent months. The saga called into question the legitimacy of the World Cup bidding process, and led to the suspension of Fifa president Sepp Blatter and vice-president Michel Platini in October.
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has also been hit by reports of widespread doping, with a World Anti-Doping Agency report claiming the organisation had ignored systemic and state-sponsored doping in Russia.
Former IAAF president Lamine Diack is also being investigated for alleged corruption and money-laundering, while the IAAF has provisionally suspended Russia's athletics federation.
Sports in Singapore have also come under the spotlight recently. A player-coach dispute within the national women's table tennis team saw paddler Yu Mengyu publicly slam former coach Jing Junhong. Jing has since been replaced by Liu Jiayi. In the men's team, head coach Yang Chuanning was sacked. Among the accusations laid against him was that he did not treat the players equally and looked down in particular on local-born paddlers.
In light of all these, Mr Tan reminded sports officials here to "carry out their duties and responsibilities in good faith", reminding them to declare any conflict of interests, be transparent, to not abuse their positions for personal gain.
He also emphasised the importance of coming up with athlete-centric policies and decisions.
Said Mr Tan: "Our athletes are at the epicentre of the work we do. The decisions we make and the policies we set directly impact our athletes. We must continue to help them to develop their sporting potential and if possible, help them to realise their sporting ambitions... and not be disrupted by other irrelevant demands and unnecessary distractions."
He said: "Colleagues, let us continue to promote sports and provide opportunities for our athletes and officials to excel in sport without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit."