SportSG happy to help floorball put its house in order

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.BERITA HARIAN FILE PHOTO

Sport Singapore (SportSG) has pledged its support to the beleaguered Singapore Floorball Association (SFA) following news that SFA president Sani Mohamed Salim had allegedly misappropriated the association's funds.

The former national hockey captain, who is employed by SportSG, has been suspended from duty with immediate effect, after SportSG lodged a police report on Saturday.

In response to queries from The Straits Times yesterday, SportSG's deputy director of public relations S. Parameswaran said SportSG is "more than happy to help with putting things in order" at the national sports association (NSA).

However, he stressed that any subsequent change in leadership is "up to the management committee of the SFA to decide".

He said: "We cannot make decisions. SFA is an independent association and we cannot be seen as interfering."

Parameswaran also declined to comment on talk that officials from established NSAs could be temporarily parachuted in to help.

Sources within the floorball fraternity had said a six-figure sum is involved, with some of the misappropriated funds believed to have come from SFA-organised events, such as its local leagues.

But this is not the first time an NSA has been rocked by the misappropriation of funds.

In 2002, Dr Ong Teck Thian, former chief of the then Singapore Tenpin Bowling Congress allegedly siphoned between $1 million and $2 million from its coffers.

In 2005, former Singapore Rugby Union (SRU) finance executive Sean Lee allegedly embezzled $1.2 million from the organisation.

Both are still at large.

In 2006, former national water polo captain Matthew Tan was jailed nine months for forgery and misappropriating $61,714 from the Singapore Swimming Association. He had been its vice-president.

Veteran sports administrator Low Teo Ping believes that "financial governance is paramount" when running an NSA.

Low, the current SRU president, had also helmed the Singapore Sailing Federation from 1999 to 2010.

He said: "When you are involved with public funds, the accountability with regards to handling money has to be very robust, along with the integrity of the people involved.

"That, to me, is very critical for an organisation to continue to exist."

Officials from the SFA could not be reached for comment..

 Correction Note: An earlier version of this article stated that Mr S. Parameswaran is SportSG's director of public relations. This is incorrect. He is deputy director of public relations. We are sorry for the error. 

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 16, 2016, with the headline 'SportSG happy to help floorball put its house in order'. Print Edition | Subscribe