No teams but Tg Pagar and Gombak hold votes

Tanjong Pagar's Ahmad Latif (No. 8) in action against Harimau Muda at the Jalan Besar Stadium on May 19, 2014.
Tanjong Pagar's Ahmad Latif (No. 8) in action against Harimau Muda at the Jalan Besar Stadium on May 19, 2014. PHOTO: GREAT EASTERN-YEO'S S-LEAGUE

A total of 44 members can vote at the Football Association of Singapore's (FAS) extraordinary congress on April 29, which will see the election of a new council. However, the inclusion of some names stood out.

While there are nine members under the S-League umbrella, two of them - Gombak United and Tanjong Pagar - have not competed in the domestic league since 2012 and 2015 respectively.

Albirex Niigata, one of two foreign teams in the league, also have one vote. In contrast, Brunei DPMM, the league's other foreign team, do not get a say in the election.

Asked about the status of Gombak and Tanjong Pagar, an FAS spokesman said yesterday that both clubs sat out the league to strengthen their financial positions, but are "encouraged to engage the community with football activities".

The spokesman added that the clubs can still rejoin the S-League but this is subject to them meeting "stringent criteria".

Gombak chairman John Yap said the club is still up and running, but declined to elaborate if the Bulls plan to rejoin the league.

The 59-year-old said: "At the beginning of the year, we spoke to some schools to organise football activities for aspiring footballers based in Gombak.

"We'll wait for the election to be over before deciding (whether to rejoin the S-League)."

Clarifying his club's status, Albirex general manager Koh Mui Tee said: "We are a locally registered entity and I believe we have contributed to local football over the years. There are also about 15 Singaporeans working at the club."

On the polls, he said: "We are just hoping that the direction of the league will be clearer after the election. May the best team win."

Aside from the nine members classified under the S-League, 23 members come under teams from the National Football League, while 12 are listed under "others".

The last group includes community interest groups and women's league teams.

All are entitled to one vote each at the upcoming election.

Chua Siang Yee

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 19, 2017, with the headline 'No teams but Tg Pagar and Gombak hold votes'. Print Edition | Subscribe