Football: FAS technical director quits due to health, personal reasons caused by Covid-19

Mr Joseph Palatsides had joined FAS in 2019, and said then that he hoped to rouse local football from its slumber. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Football Association of Singapore (FAS) technical director Joseph Palatsides has quit the top post abruptly just five months after signing a contract extension.

The association announced on Tuesday (Nov 9) that both parties have mutually agreed to part ways.

The 56-year-old will remain in the post until the end of the year. In the meantime, the FAS has appointed national Under-15 coach and Young Lions assistant coach Philippe Aw, 43, as the Australian's interim replacement.

Australian Palatsides had joined FAS in 2019, and said then that he hoped to rouse local football from its slumber.

His initial two-year deal was extended in June until 2023.

He took leave in August and returned to Australia. On Tuesday during a Zoom press conference, Palatsides said the pandemic plus health and personal issues were a large part of his decision to not return to Singapore.

He said: "I am both sorry and disappointed that the current Covid-19 circumstances have resulted with me unfortunately having to make this very difficult decision to end this relationship prematurely, where being with my family at this juncture is of huge importance.

"I take heart by the fact that the team I am leaving behind in the FAS are dedicated and motivated individuals, who are capable themselves to continue the objective of elevating Singapore football."

The former defender said he is likely to join A-League's Melbourne Victory as their new head of academy.

FAS president Lim Kia Tong said in June that Palatsides "plays a key role in helping to develop Singapore football especially at this crucial juncture when we are establishing the foundations for the Unleash The Roar national project".

On Tuesday, Lim noted: "The FAS places priority on all of its staff's well-being, something that is even more important in this COVID-19 era. It is unfortunate that we have to part ways with Joseph, but we have to make this difficult decision given the circumstances."

Before his appointment in May 2019, Palatsides was the head of another A-League club Melbourne City's youth academy.

Palatsides, who played and coached in Australia and Greece, oversaw the development of Singapore football in all aspects.

This included enhancing national age-group teams, grassroots and women's football, as well as further strengthening the youth pipeline and coaching structures.

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