Ng defends integrity of election team-mates

Hougang United chief says his side intends to revitalise local football, and modernise all aspects of the sport from the ground up

Hougang United chairman Bill Ng has hit out at those who have questioned his and his team's integrity as they gear up to contest the upcoming Football Association of Singapore (FAS) election.

In a press statement issued last night, he said: "There has been chatter in the last week about the integrity and intention of my team and I... Integrity needs to be inherent in the credentials of any person who chooses to undertake this monumental task, and I expect that of both parties running for the presidential election."

Last week, FAS provisional council president Lim Kia Tong, who will lead a team to challenge Ng in the election, had said: "Talk is cheap. Realising the talk is very expensive. Each and every (candidate) must have integrity and must not come here for ulterior purposes."

The issue of integrity has been in the spotlight, with the FAS set to hold its first-ever polls on April 29, and all candidates set to undergo a "fit-and-proper persons test".


Bill Ng says his team includes highly qualified professionals who have proven records in sports.  PHOTO COURTESY OF BILL NG

The check, which was included in the documents the FAS sent out when it announced the election date, includes an examination of a candidate's legal, financial and police records.

Last night, Ng, 57, insisted that the "sole intention" of his team "is to modernise the Singapore game from grassroots up, as well as from the administration and leadership levels".

He also issued a robust defence of their credentials, highlighting that his line-up consisted of high-quality professionals who have proven records in sport both locally and internationally, encompassing several key aspects such as commerce, sports science and sports administration.

Although the private equity firm director has yet to unveil his entire slate, he already has a few pieces of heavy artillery on his side.

The team includes three lawyers - Singapore National Olympic Council vice-president Annabel Pennefather, former Geylang International vice-president Lau Kok Keng and Tampines Rovers chairman Krishna Ramachandra - and Dr Teoh Chin Sim, Team Singapore's chief medical officer at the 2015 SEA Games.

Ng noted: "They are highly qualified members in their fields whom we will work with to bring our game into the modern era."

With the S-League drawing sparse crowds and the Lions and the various national age-group teams suffering a spate of poor results in recent years, the sport is in the doldrums. But Ng aims to remedy that, saying: "My team is unified by a common belief - Singapore's game will be modernised. It must be modernised and the politics must be removed."

KEEPING IT SIMPLE

Our way is transparent and accountable. It focuses on the athlete with administrative help, rather than letting politics get in the way. It nurtures talent and gives talent a platform on which to succeed from a young age. It takes care of (the talented players') minds and bodies.

BILL NG, whose team is challenging the one headed by FAS provisional council president Lim Kia Tong, explaining why he wants to put footballers at the centre of the sport.

To raise the standard of football, he wants to make the players' career and welfare the focus of his administration as well as making the sport a viable career option for players, if he wins the election.

"Our way is transparent and accountable. It focuses on the athlete with administrative help, rather than letting politics get in the way," he revealed.

"It nurtures talent and gives talent a platform on which to succeed from a young age. It takes care of (the talented players') minds and bodies.

"Our way is to revitalise our game by building a culture of football from the primary school level up, implementing proper coaching, scouting, sports science and psychology, commercial and administrative techniques."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 23, 2017, with the headline 'Ng defends integrity of election team-mates'. Print Edition | Subscribe