FIFA dialogue causes delay in FAS election

Fifa's headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland.
Fifa's headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland.PHOTO: REUTERS

Poll slated for Sept 30 to be postponed after world body wants office-bearers to remain

The Football Association of Singapore's (FAS) elections, slated for Sep 30, are set to be delayed until the end of the year due to the ongoing talks to amend its constitution with Fifa.

The current FAS council was appointed on Oct 1 two years ago, and was expected to serve till the end of this month.

However, with the association in talks to align its statutes with the world governing body's standards, any changes to office bearers will have to be postponed.

The issue at the heart of the talks is how the FAS has contravened Fifa's rules on government intervention on football-related issues.

An FAS spokesman told The Straits Times: "The FAS has been in communication with Fifa on the process of appointing office bearers.

"Fifa has requested FAS not to make any changes to its office bearers until Fifa has discussed the status of the FAS constitution pertaining to the appointment of the office bearers at its scheduled meeting in September.

"Following its meeting, Fifa will advise FAS on the next course of action, which may include changes to the constitution.

"Fifa's request not to make any changes to the office bearers at the moment will invariably necessitate the rescheduling of the AGM (annual general meeting).

"We have written to our members and affiliates to seek their approval on the rescheduling of the AGM."

Fifa's statute 13.1(i) states that member associations are obliged to "manage their own affairs and ensure that their own affairs are not influenced by any third parties."

Last updated in 2011, article 19.3 of the FAS constitution states that "all council members shall be appointed by the Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports (now called the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth) - including the president - and shall, unless otherwise decided by the Minister, hold office for a period of two years".

The current FAS president, appointed in 2009, is Zainudin Nordin. The 52-year-old stepped down as a Member of Parliament for the Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC last month.

Since 2004, the FAS president had been succeeded by a vice-president from the association starting with Associate Professor Ho Peng Kee taking over from Mah Bow Tan. Five years later, Zainudin took over the mantle from Ho.

In 2013, Zainudin told The Straits Times that he planned to step down as FAS supremo this year. This has led people to believe that vice-president and the PAP's candidate for the Marine Parade GRC, Edwin Tong, could be in line for Singapore football's top job.

The Straits Times understands that the FAS could go ahead with its AGM without an election to officially close off accounts for the financial year and have a feedback session with stakeholders.

The alternative is to hold the AGM and elections together after the talks with Fifa have concluded and the necessary amendments to the constitution have been made.

The latest uncertainty only adds to the list of conundrums that the FAS is facing.

The LionsXII's participation in the Malaysia Super League (MSL) beyond this year has yet to be confirmed, with the Memorandum of Understanding signed with the Football Association of Malaysia due to expire at the end of the year.

At home, there has been plenty of talk that the S-League could turn semi-professional in next year.

The futures of Singapore national teams head coach Bernd Stange - whose contract expires at the end of this month - and interim Courts Young Lions coach Juergen Raab, also remain unclear.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 01, 2015, with the headline 'FIFA dialogue causes delay in FAS election'. Print Edition | Subscribe