Football: FAS must stick to the plan: Richard Tardy

Richard Tardy, the Football Association of Singapore head of national youth teams, will leave at the end of March next year.
Richard Tardy, the Football Association of Singapore head of national youth teams, will leave at the end of March next year.PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

SEA Games coach insists March departure is down to economic reasons, not results

Richard Tardy, the Football Association of Singapore head of national youth teams, will leave at the end of March next year, nine months before the end of his contract, by mutual agreement. But he says that his time with the FAS is no failure, but a work in progress.

The Frenchman led the Republic's Under-22 side to August's SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur, where they failed to qualify for the semi-finals.

But he insists that those results were not the reason behind his departure announced by the FAS on Thursday.

Four others - Under-18 staff coach Christophe Chaintreuil, U-15 staff coach Sofiyan Hamid, head of the FAS' Goalkeeper Academy Singapore Frederic de Boever and Kok Wai Leong, the S-League's director of operations - are also set to leave Singapore's football governing body.

"I was asked to come for a meeting last week, and I was surprised. I am not leaving for sporting reasons - it was not because we failed to qualify (for the knockout stage) at the SEA Games - we never discussed that," said Tardy, speaking to The Straits Times from France where he is on holiday.

"It was a problem of economics."

ST understands that he is on a high six-figure annual salary.

National Under-20 coach Fandi Ahmad has taken over the Young Lions, to prepare the team for next year's Asian Games as well as the 2019 SEA Games and Tardy said this plan was made clear a year ago.

"For me it was clear - if they wanted to sack me I won't be staying until March next year. Right now, I'm still in charge of national youth teams and also the U-19 team," said the 67-year-old.

"I accept the FAS' decision, and I'll be professional and do my best in the job until I leave.

"It's not because Fandi's coming in that I'm leaving. The reasons are economic."

The FAS is facing a budget cut, and are in the process of reorganising the league as well as its secretariat following April's election, but sources within the FAS disputed the Frenchman's claims.

Tardy said he has enjoyed his time here, and counts the SEA Games as one of his highlights, particularly the performances against hosts Malaysia and Myanmar despite the 2-1 and 2-0 defeats respectively.

BUDGET CUTS CASUALTY

If they wanted to sack me I won't be staying until March next year. Right now, I'm still in charge of national youth teams and also the U-19 team... The reasons are economic.

RICHARD TARDY, outgoing national youth teams boss, on his impending departure.

He noted that he worked with a relatively young team, with 60 per cent of the squad still available for the next Games. "We didn't qualify, but we prepared players for the future," he said.

While some players from that team revealed that they did not believe in his methods, and that he was not a popular figure, others sang his praises.

"I learnt a lot from him. He never gave up on us even though we didn't get results, and we began to keep fighting like that too," said Young Lions midfielder Hami Syahin.

"The SEA Games was very memorable and we still look up to him."

Tardy acknowledged that much needs to be done to improve the standard of the sport here but insisted that there will be results if the FAS stay the course.

"We need time to change the mentality of players, and help them improve physically, tactically and technically. You can't immediately feel changes," he said. "But if we keep to the technical director's (Michel Sablon) plans in four years you will see."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 16, 2017, with the headline 'FAS must stick to the plan: Tardy'. Print Edition | Subscribe