Errant SEA Games footballers fined by SNOC

A photo taken on Dec 11, 2019, shows (from left) Joshua Pereira, Zulqarnaen Suzliman, Zharfan Rohaizad and Lionel Tan entering the Football Association of Singapore's
headquarters at Jalan Besar Stadium.
A photo taken on Dec 11, 2019, shows (from left) Joshua Pereira, Zulqarnaen Suzliman, Zharfan Rohaizad and Lionel Tan entering the Football Association of Singapore's headquarters at Jalan Besar Stadium.PHOTOS: ST FILE

The nine national Under-23 footballers who broke curfew at last December's SEA Games in the Philippines have been punished with fines, the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) confirmed yesterday.

An SNOC spokesman told The Sunday Times its disciplinary committee, chaired by lawyer Lau Kok Keng, met the players, who were involved in two separate incidents and were given the chance to defend themselves.

The players were informed of the decisions about two weeks after the disciplinary hearing on Jan 31.

The first episode involved Kenji Rusydi and Zulqarnaen Suzliman (both 21), Lionel Tan and Joshua Pereira (both 22), Zharfan Rohaizad, 23, and overaged player Tajeli Salamat, 26. The trio of Hami Syahin, Saifullah Akbar (both 21) and Shah Shahiran, 20, were implicated in a separate event.

"All nine athletes admitted that their actions were in breach of the code of conduct in the team membership agreement for the Games," said the SNOC spokesman.

"After considering the evidence presented and circumstances put forth, the SNOC disciplinary committee has decided to impose monetary fines of varying amounts on the nine respective athletes.

"The fines will also constitute disciplinary records against the athletes, which may be taken into consideration for future major Games selection, together with all other applicable factors and selection criteria."

The SNOC derived the fine for each player after considering evidence presented, including aggravating and mitigating factors, as well as various amounts it had spent on each player.

Pereira and Kenji were handed the heaviest fines of $2,000 each, while Zharfan, Zulqarnaen and Tajeli each had to pay $1,800. Tan was given the lightest penalty of $1,000.

For the second group, Hami was fined $1,600 while Saifullah and Shah were each docked $1,400.

The SNOC will donate the fines collected to its charity arm, the Singapore Olympic Foundation.

The SNOC spokesman added: "We hope the nine athletes will learn from this incident and put their energy and talent into advancing their football careers moving forward."

Zulqarnaen, Tajeli and Saifullah play for Lion City Sailors in the Singapore Premier League. Shah is at Tampines Rovers, Kenji at Tanjong Pagar United and Pereira at Geylang International.

Hami, Zharfan and Tan are doing their national service.

It is understood the two curfew-breaking incidents happened on the same night, after Singapore's 3-0 loss to Thailand on Dec 1 in the group stage.

  • $2,000 

    The heaviest fine was handed to Joshua Pereira and Kenji Rusydi, part of a group of six who were in their rooms at the 11pm curfew time. But they visited the casino later.
    ​A second group of three left their rooms after the 11pm checks and went outside the hotel to have supper.

The first group of six players were in their rooms when officials made their rounds at the 11pm curfew time.

But they left later to visit the casino at Solaire Resort and Casino, not far from the team's base at Century Park Hotel in Manila, returning only in the wee hours.

The other group of three had left their rooms and team hotel after the checks to have supper.

The Singapore U-23 SEA Games team finished fourth in the six-team Group B with one win, one draw and three losses. They did not advance to the semi-finals for the third straight Games.

This is not the first time national athletes, who are made to sign a Code of Conduct, have broken similar curfew rules at multi-sport Games.

At the 2014 Asian Games in South Korea, swimmers Joseph Schooling, Teo Zhen Ren and Roanne Ho were issued warning letters by the SNOC after leaving the Athletes' Village without permission.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 08, 2020, with the headline 'Errant SEA Games footballers fined by SNOC'. Print Edition | Subscribe