Football: Football Association of Singapore leaders to be elected from 2016

Change is to bring S'pore in line with Fifa, which frowns on government interference

The current FAS president, appointed in 2009, is Zainudin Nordin, 52.
The current FAS president, appointed in 2009, is Zainudin Nordin, 52. ST PHOTO: TUKIMAN WARJI

The current Football Association of Singapore (FAS) council will remain in office until March at least after agreeing to revise its constitution on the advice of Fifa.

In a statement released last night, the FAS said it had received feedback from the sport's world governing body and will now amend its constitution by March as well as hold an open and full election of its council members after the amendment.

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".

But this is now set to change, with the FAS saying last night: "On the advice of Fifa, the FAS has decided not to make changes to its office bearers for the time being.

"Instead, the current team will work closely with Fifa on the proposed amendments to the FAS constitution to ensure alignment of our electoral process with the Fifa statutes.

"We will seek the consent of members and affiliates as well as the necessary regulatory approvals for any changes to the constitution.

"We expect to amend our constitution by March next year."

It added that the timing of the elections will be announced "in due course". They were originally scheduled for mid-last month.

The current FAS president, appointed in 2009, is Zainudin Nordin, 52. He is a former Member of Parliament for the Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC. His four vice-presidents are Tan Soo Nan, Lim Kia Tong, Bernard Tan and Edwin Tong. The current FAS council was appointed on Oct 1, 2013, and was expected to serve till yesterday.

Zainudin, the four VPs and honorary treasurer Sarjit Singh form the executive committee - the FAS' decision-making body. FAS general secretary Winston Lee and S-League chief executive officer Lim Chin are the two co-opted ex-officios in the committee.

While Fifa's statute 13.1(i) disallows interference from "third parties" such as governments, the FAS insisted that "the current appointment process has been in place since 1982 (and) from the start, Fifa was aware of this practice and did not object to it". Fifa has in recent years suspended certain FAs such as Indonesia over perceived government interference.

The Straits Times understands that although next year's elections will be an open one, candidates, who must be a member of the football fraternity, must meet criteria such as being of good standing.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 01, 2015, with the headline 'FAS LEADERS TO BE ELECTED FROM 2016'. Subscribe