FAS election 2017

Football: Wooing the affiliates

Above right: Team LKT meeting 29 affiliates at Amara Hotel last night. Bernard Tan, candidate for the deputy president's post, said they will work to be more transparent if elected. Right: Team Game Changers meeting some NFL clubs at Padi@Bussorah la
Team LKT meeting 29 affiliates at Amara Hotel last night. Bernard Tan, candidate for the deputy president's post, said they will work to be more transparent if elected. PHOTO COURTESY OF EDWIN YEO
Above right: Team LKT meeting 29 affiliates at Amara Hotel last night. Bernard Tan, candidate for the deputy president's post, said they will work to be more transparent if elected. Right: Team Game Changers meeting some NFL clubs at Padi@Bussorah la
Team Game Changers meeting some NFL clubs at Padi@Bussorah last week. A spokesman said engagement with the affiliates has been ongoing and will continue until Saturday's election.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Both Team LKT, Game Changers still trying to show they have their voters' interests at heart

With two days to go till the inaugural Football Association of Singapore (FAS) election takes place, campaigning for the 44 votes at stake has reached the final straight for the two competing slates - Team LKT and the Game Changers.

Yesterday evening, Team LKT, led by lawyer and former FAS vice-president Lim Kia Tong, met 29 affiliates at the Amara Hotel for a dialogue session.

The 1hr 15min session saw members of Team LKT introducing themselves to the affiliates.

According to the team spokesman, Bernard Tan, candidate for the deputy president's post, told the affiliates that he too had been frustrated with decision-making in the FAS in his previous 31/2-year stint as a council member.

He felt that the FAS had been slow to react to address issues in the past and assured them that if elected, his team would work to be more transparent.

DECIDED?

He has managed to get NFL clubs insurance courtesy of Great Eastern. He is also working alongside Sport Singapore and PA to help us with the booking of pitches. These are all important factors for us and it is assuring for our club.

MOKLAS MA'AROF, Kembangan United secretary, on Lim Kia Tong's concrete actions that may have won his club's vote.


UNDECIDED

My chairman Daisuke Korenaga will be voting. Both of us have listened to the plans of the two teams and we will weigh the merits of each side. I will give him (Korenaga) my opinion and he will vote.

KOH MUI TEE, Albirex Niigata general manager, on giving both slates every chance to prove themselves.

Their opponents, the Game Changers, who are spearheaded by Hougang United chairman Bill Ng, also said that they were not letting up too in their efforts to engage the affiliates.

A spokesman said: "The engagement with the affiliates has been ongoing and this will continue until the election."

While the teams are going all out to court the voters and are still none the wiser about who the electorate will favour, the electoral process has become clearer.

Yesterday, K. Bala Chandran, chairman of the ad hoc electoral committee, which is tasked with ensuring that the election runs smoothly, outlined the mechanics of the process briefly in response to queries from ST.

He revealed that each ordinary member would "choose one slate in whole". This practice departs from that of both the athletics and swimming associations, two major federations which conducted elections recently, whose voting was done position by position, starting from the president's post down.

He also said that each of the affiliates had already nominated to the FAS two members as delegates to attend the polls.

However, only one delegate will be entitled to vote.

ST understands that the delegates will be briefed further by the EC on the morning of the vote.

Like the FAS' annual general meeting in September, the election will be attended by a representative from Fifa and Sport Singapore, the national sports agency.

While the affiliates have already decided who they are sending to the meeting, some are less firm on where they will cast their votes and how they will choose, whether it is a decision that involves the entire club or just the club's leaders.

Arion Football Academy manager Yong Sheau Shyan is one who is adopting a wait-and-see approach. The academy's secretary Sharon Tan will be casting its vote.

Yong said: "The committee is still in discussion.

"We are holding on at this moment as we hope more truths will emerge in the next few days before deciding."

National Football League Division 2 club Kembangan United have delegated committee member Albert Ng to be the representative to cast the club's vote.

Their secretary Moklas Ma'arof said: "Both teams made good presentations to us but I feel that Mr Lim (Kia Tong) has shown that he has action to back up his talk.

"So far, he has managed to get NFL clubs insurance courtesy of Great Eastern.

"He is also working alongside Sport Singapore and PA (People's Association) to help us with the booking of pitches.

"These are all important factors for us and it is assuring for our club."

Albirex Niigata general manager Koh Mui Tee, who declined to reveal which has been the more impressive slate, would only say that Albirex would support the team "that has the S-League, and Albirex's, interests at heart".

"My chairman Daisuke Korenaga will be voting. Both of us have listened to the plans of the two teams and we will weigh the merits of each side," he added.

"I will give him my opinion and he will vote."

The build-up to the election has been overshadowed by the ongoing Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) investigation into the alleged misuse of funds at Tiong Bahru Football Club, whose chairman is Ng, and an attempt to obstruct audits into clubs.

The probe saw the CAD raid the offices of the FAS, as well as the clubhouses of Hougang, Tiong Bahru and Woodlands Wellington, who were earmarked for a merger with Hougang in 2014 before the move was called off because it was deemed unconstitutional.

Ng, his wife Bonnie Wong, ex-FAS president Zainudin Nordin and current FAS general secretary Winston Lee are out on bail and assisting investigations.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 27, 2017, with the headline 'Wooing the affiliates'. Print Edition | Subscribe