Shame to offer 11-month contracts to footballers

It is a real shame that some S-League players were given 11-month contracts (A shift towards greater financial security; Dec 31, 2017).

Balestier Khalsa chairman S. Thavaneson explained his reason for offering such short-term deals, blaming some players for training with another club in the post-season (last month) while they were still Balestier employees.

While it is undeniable that such players were unprofessional, offering contracts shorter than one year is also a practice that lacks professionalism.

A club that truly cares for the welfare of footballers would not offer 11-month contracts. Such contracts allow employers to avoid the Annual Wage Supplement (or 13th month payment).

Balestier could have offered 12-month contracts that prohibit its players from engaging in any football activity with another organisation. Players who flout this rule would then have to forfeit their December salary. Thavaneson's explanation seems like a poor excuse for 11-month contracts.

FAS president Lim Kia Tong has called for club officials, coaches and players to be more professional in their mindsets (Makeover is wake-up call, says FAS boss; Dec 19). The FAS leadership itself should also upgrade its mindset to be more professional, instead of returning to its old, ineffective methods of football management (FAS should stop reusing its old tactics, by Chan Siang Ming; Dec 18).

The FAS should also stop calling the S-League a professional league when it is, in fact, a semi-professional competition. Not all its players are full-time professionals. Some are full-time national servicemen, while others are full-time students. Such individuals could be among those who are paid only $500 per month.

Does anyone really think a full-time professional footballer has such a meagre salary?

Michael Ang York Poon

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 06, 2018, with the headline 'Shame to offer 11-month contracts to footballers'. Print Edition | Subscribe