FAS officials must show sincerity going forward

The leadership of the Football Association of Singapore needs to demonstrate professionalism before expecting a certain level of commitment from our players in the S-League and I can't agree more with Mr Michael Ang York Poon on that point (Shame to offer 11-month contracts to footballers; Jan 6).

I was shocked by Balestier Khalsa chairman and FAS vice-president S Thavaneson's attempt to justify his club's policy of signing players on 11-month contracts.

Does Mr Thavaneson have any statistics to prove that players had previously trained with another club in December while still on the payroll of Balestier?

Even if there were indeed a few players who did so previously, I cannot understand why any chairman would attempt to use such incidents to justify the practice of offering 11-month contracts to all players.

Why did Mr Thavaneson not report the offending players and the other clubs (with whom the Balestier players had trained with) to the S-League disciplinary committee?

Using this as a means to cut costs affects many innocent and honest players.

Officials like Mr Thavaneson need to change their mindset. It is clear that players' welfare was never a top priority for them.

Now that there are plans to make changes and move forward, all officials should be genuine and sincere. They should reflect on their actions and offer a genuine apology for missteps instead of using excuses to justify poor practices they had adopted. Only then can we really have trust and confidence in Singapore football.

It takes two hands to clap, and Mr Ang is right that FAS president Lim Kia Tong and his team should first be professional in their dealings and actions before expecting the same from the clubs and players.

Almost a year has passed since the FAS elections. Are we now better positioned to bring Singapore football out of the slump? I do not think so - unless the FAS council and management walk the talk and set a clear and right example to the football community.

Chan Siang Ming

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 10, 2018, with the headline 'FAS officials must show sincerity going forward'. Print Edition | Subscribe