Why It Matters

FAS scores with 'clean shop' goal

Last Thursday, the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) announced that its newly elected council is reviewing its governance processes and seeking to tighten its system of checks and balances.

An ad hoc committee has been set up and aims to complete its work in four to six months. Besides members of the FAS' executive committee (exco), it includes lawyer Wong Ai Ai, Heeton Holdings executive director and chief executive officer Eric Teng, investment banker Keith Magnus and F&N chief executive officer Bennett Neo.

They bring their management expertise and knowledge of best practices to help the association become more robust. It is a positive step, which shows that the FAS is no longer insular and is willing to take a consultative approach to matters.

One of the key changes from the association's efforts to "clean shop" is the fact that many decisions will now be made by the exco. This is a departure from past practices that saw many major decisions made by just two men - the president and general secretary.

Now, important matters, such as the hiring of key personnel, quantums of cheques issued, donations received and voting in external elections, will be scrutinised by the exco.

This collective decision-making process could possibly be less efficient but the approach will make the association more transparent, and that can only be good for Singapore football.

During the FAS election, its many systemic flaws were exposed in the $500,000 donation saga involving presidential candidate Bill Ng, the FAS and the Asean Football Federation. It resulted in police raids on several entities, including the FAS.

Football is the most heavily funded sport in the Republic, with the Tote Board disbursing a reported $25 million in grants annually to the FAS.

Add to that the fact that it is the only sport here that has over a thousand people depending on its professional league - the S-League - for their livelihoods, and it is clear that the move to "clean shop" cannot start soon enough.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 05, 2017, with the headline 'FAS scores with 'clean shop' goal'. Print Edition | Subscribe