Football: Dispute between Bill Ng and Winston Lee over $850,000 donation to FAS

SINGAPORE - In a fiery press conference to unveil his team's manifesto, Bill Ng revealed that he had donated $850,000 to the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) and claimed that he did not know how the money was used.

The Hougang United chairman, who is leading a team called the Game Changers to contest in the April 29 election, dropped the bombshell on Thursday (April 13) evening when he recalled how he was first involved in the sport more than a decade ago.

In response to Ng's words, FAS general secretary Winston Lee labelled those accusations as "baseless and untrue".

Ng, a corporate rescue specialist, recalled that he was first roped in by the FAS to help Tiong Bahru FC, a National Football League (NFL) side, in 2004. Then, he helped to restructure its clubhouse operations.

"We spent four years there before it (Tiong Bahru) can float," Ng said during the Game Changers' press conference at the Fullerton Bay Hotel.

"After that, we went several times to Winston Lee telling him we would like to come back to the S-League but we were told to stay in the NFL."

 

In 2008, Ng claimed he was asked to help another ailing club, Sengkang Punggol. He turned the strugglers, now named Hougang United, into an outfit with a healthy bank balance as a result of its successful jackpot operation. He added that in 2010, he was asked to help turn other strugglers like Gombak United, Woodlands Wellington, Super Reds and Sinchi FC, around.

Ng said that in 2012, he secured a $200,000 sponsorship for the Cheetahs but was asked by the FAS to donate the amount for the LionsXII's travelling costs in Malaysia.

"That is why we (Hougang) didn't have a title sponsor," he said.

He added that in total, he had donated about $850,000 to the FAS. On how the money was used, Ng replied: "That is a big question. I'm not in the FAS. The best answer is to call Winston Lee."

But Lee, the FAS' general secretary since 2008, replied in a statement after midnight, saying: "In the Team Game Changers' press conference on Thursday night, their presidential candidate Mr Bill Ng insinuated impropriety on the management of a sum of money he had donated to the FAS over a period of a few years.

"In particular, he invited the media to question FAS on what had happened to the money he had donated and claimed to have no knowledge of where the funds had gone after he donated it. This is a baseless and untrue accusation.

"In 2012, FAS approached various sponsors and donors to support the LionsXII, which would commence its participation in the Malaysian Super League. The sponsors and donors who came on board included Mr Ng, who introduced a company that donated an amount of $200,000 to the LionsXII.

"In 2014, FAS spoke to Mr Ng on the subject of supporting the Asean Football Federation's (AFF) football management system. Mr Ng supported the project with a donation of $500,000 to AFF through FAS. He had full knowledge of what the donation was for, and that none of it came to the FAS. To reiterate, Mr Ng knew that the money was not being donated to FAS or any Singapore footballing activity, and to claim it was given to FAS is not factual.

"All donations and sponsorships from our partners are recorded and accounted for, and we will take the necessary action against parties who wilfully accuse the Association of improper fund management."

Ng will contest against lawyer Lim Kia Tong, who will lead a side called Team LKT, for the leadership positions in the new FAS council on April 29. The election will be held at the Black Box Auditorium at the Sports Hub.