The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) will hold a landmark election before May next year after a revised constitution was unanimously approved by its members at an extraordinary general meeting (EOGM) yesterday evening.
The move paves the way for the local football fraternity to elect their own leaders for the first time in over 30 years. Previously, the committee was appointed by the Government, most recently the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY).
With the current council's term expiring on Nov 15, FAS vice-president Lim Kia Tong added that, after consultation with the MCCY, a provisional council will soon be formed to steer the FAS until the elections.
At the top of this provisional council's agenda is to ensure funding for S-League clubs.
Yesterday, Lim, who was tasked with drafting the constitution amendments and soliciting feedback from members, confirmed that all 38 of the 46 members present voted in favour of the revised constitution.
VOTE SPEAKS VOLUMES
The most satisfying effect of the hard work is the (unanimous) vote this evening.
It is very cogent,
very visible and demonstrates that the football fraternity out there have found (the amendments) very palatable to them and are of the view that this constitution is a good one.
LIM KIA TONG, FAS vice-president.
Asked if he will run for the election, Lim said: "I hope to be able to form a team... and carry out the management of Singapore football from a very different dimension."
Addressing the media after the EOGM, he said: "The most satisfying effect of the hard work is the (unanimous) vote this evening.
"It is very cogent, very visible and demonstrates that the football fraternity out there have found (the amendments) very palatable to them and are of the view that this constitution is a good one, something that will help football move forward."
Lim was flanked by FAS president Zainudin Nordin, fellow vice-president Edwin Tong, FAS general secretary Winston Lee and FAS council member and Balestier Khalsa chairman S. Thavaneson.
The new constitution will now be put forward to the Registrar of Societies, the MCCY and the Commissioner of Charities for approval, which is expected to be a formality. The document had already been approved by Fifa, football's world governing body.
Key changes to the constitution, as announced earlier, include the requirement of a team of nine candidates to contest the election. It is also mandated that the council must have at least one female member.
Individual candidates can contest the remaining six council member positions, bringing the FAS council size to 15, down from 26.
Lim, who has been deputy chairman of Fifa's disciplinary committee since May 2013, said the unanimous vote was due in part to the amount of time he spent meeting stakeholders and affiliates to address their concerns.
One thing the FAS and its affiliates had compromised on was the number of times the council should meet each year, with both parties settling on at least three meetings annually, up from two in the original draft constitution.
Another was the insertion of a clause to ensure that any council member with a conflict of interest in a particular discussion will be withdrawn from the meeting.
Some affiliates also wanted clarity on the hiring of the FAS general secretary, which they mistook as the sole prerogative of the FAS president.
Lim said the constitution stated that the hiring of the general secretary is decided by the council and not the president alone.
While the FAS has up to six months to call for elections, Tong, an MP for Marine Parade GRC, said the provisional council will schedule it as soon as possible. He also said potential candidates will have ample time to canvass support.
He said: "While the deadline to call for an election is next May, we have every intention to do so earlier. The sooner the new team is in place to move forward, the better."