Saturday, 29 April 2017

FAS & the Football Donation Saga

Update: FAS Election - Team LKT elected
Lim Kia Tong (holding folder) has been elected Football Association of Singapore president, along with his slate of 8 other candidates in his Team LKT. His team beat Bill Ng's Game Changers 30-13, with one spoilt voteLim Say Heng

Lim Kia Tong has been elected the new president of the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) president, following the national sports association's historic elections on Sat (April 29) morning at the Singapore Sports Hub.

Lim & his team of 9, collectively known as Team LKT, beat Bill Ng's Game Changers 30-13 in the closed-door elections at the Black Box Auditorium, with one spoilt vote among FAS' 44 voting affiliates.


Either team needed a two-thirds majority to win the election.

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Lim Kia Tong is new president after 30-13 win over Bill Ng
Lim Kia Tong attends a press conference after the historic FAS elections, April 29, 2017. Foto: Jason Quah / TODAY

Team LKT have won the inaugural Football Association of Singapore (FAS) elections held at the Black Box auditorium, with the slate of 9 led by former FAS vice president Lim Kia Tong winning a two-third majority vote, 30-13, against the team led by businessman Bill Ng.

The 6 independent candidates who are aligned to Team LKT were also voted into the FAS Council. They are former Singapore internationals Lim Tong Hai & Yakob Hashim, woman's footballer Sharda Parvin, Kelvin Teo, Michael Foo & Rizal Rasudin. This means that Team LKT has effectively swept all the positions on the new democratically-elected FAS Council.

The resounding win on Sat (April 29) morning means that 64-yr-old lawyer Lim will now be the new president of the FAS for the next 4 years.

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Has the Singapore government interfered in the electoral process for the FAS elections?

Over the last month, Singapore's government agency Sport Singapore has held meetings with the Ad Hoc Electoral Committee for the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) elections on two occasions.

This has now been reported in the mainstream media in both the Straits Times and The New Paper (TNP).

The latest story published on 22 April in TNP states that barely 24 hours "after it was raided by authorities", there was a "high level meeting" at the Jalan Besar Stadium.

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FAS saga: More twists & turns in football donation controversy
Mr Winston Lee (right) released some documents last night. Hours later, Mr Bill Ng countered his claims. ST FOTO: JONATHAN CHOO, THE NEW PAPER

Controversy escalates as Singapore's football body gears up for its inaugural election next Saturday, with claim & counterclaim exchanged yesterday over a $500,000 donation.

It started just before 8pm when Mr Winston Lee, the general-secretary of the Football Association of Singapore (FAS), released copies of a letter, cheques & payment vouchers, to make the case that Mr Bill Ng, one of the 2 main contenders in the election, knew about & signed off on donating $500,000 to the Asian Football Federation to help pay for a sports management system, contrary to Mr Ng's earlier claims.

Mr Ng's statements are "all patently false", said Mr Lee, and they are "intended to insinuate financial impropriety within FAS" and to damage his credibility and that of the FAS. The top FAS administrator called on Mr Ng to "wholly and unconditionally apologise for his statements".

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FAS scandal: 4, including Bill Ng and Zainudin, arrested and out on police bail
FAS scandal: Four, including Bill Ng and Zainudin, arrested and out on police bail
Bill Ng, Zainudin Nordin, Winston Lee. Fotos: Hougang United Facebook page, TODAY

Former Football Association of Singapore (FAS) president Zainudin Nordin, FAS general secretary Winston Lee, Hougang United chairman Bill Ng & his wife Bonnie Wong, were arrested & are currently out on police bail, TODAY understands.

The 4 individuals are assisting the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) with the probe into the suspected misuse of funds at Tiong Bahru Football Club (TBFC), which Mr Ng owns, & an attempt by a senior club official — believed to be Mr Ng — to obstruct the completion of audits of the S.League’s sit-out clubs.

Mr Ng’s lawyer, Mr Shashi Nathan of Withers KhattarWong, confirmed last Friday that the 57-yr-old businessman is assisting police with their inquiries. The Straits Times also reported on Tuesday (April 25) that the bail for Mr Ng had been set at S$100,000.

related:
Questions over FAS $500k donation but Asean Football Federation stay tight-lipped
I have no business dealings with Bill Ng: Ex-FAS president Zainudin
FAS general secretary promises full cooperation with authorities following CAD raids
Dark days for Singapore football, but high-stakes election could offer fresh start
FAS elections: Team Game Changers loses one individual candidate
I have no business dealings with Bill Ng: Ex-FAS president Zainudin
Man arrested for security scare at Hougang MRT station out on police bail
SportSG files police report for alleged misuse of Tiong Bahru Football Club’s funds

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3 clubs, FAS raided as police launch investigation ahead of election
Three clubs, FAS raided as police launch investigation ahead of election
There were raids on Tiong Bahru Football Club's clubhouse, Woodlands Wellington's clubhouse in Prinsep Street and Hougang United office at Hougang Stadium as well as the Jalan Besar headquarters of the Football Association of Singapore (FAS).TNP FOTO: PHYLLICIA WANG

But yesterday, their clubhouse at People's Park Centre closed at 4.30pm, 10 hours before the usual closing time, after it was raided by the police.

There were also raids on 2 other premises - Woodlands Wellington's clubhouse in Prinsep Street & Hougang United office at Hougang Stadium - as well as the Jalan Besar headquarters of the Football Association of Singapore (FAS).

All 3 clubs are associated with Mr Bill Ng, who is running for president at the FAS election on April 29.

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FAS produces letters, cheques to show that Bill Ng knew he was donating S$500k to AFF
FAS produces letters, cheques to show that Bill Ng knew he was donating S$500k to AFF
FAS general Secretary Winston Lee (right) has produced documentary proof that Bill Ng (left) at Zainudin Nordin's behest, had agreed to donate S$500,000 to the AFF to support its Football Management System. Fotos: Hougang United and FAS Facebook pages

The Football Association of S'pore (FAS) has released written proof showing that former FAS president Zainudin Nordin had indeed approached Hougang United chairman Bill Ng to donate money to support the Asean Football Federation’s (AFF) Football Management System, & that Ng had agreed to cough up S$500,000 to do so via Tiong Bahru FC (TBFC), an NFL club which he heads.

In a media release on Tuesday (Apr 18), FAS general secretary Winston Lee produced a letter between Ng & Zainudin which showed that the former had agreed to donate to the AFF.

In addition, Lee also released payment vouchers signed by Ng which stipulated that the various cheques Tiong Bahru had given to the FAS were meant for the AFF.

related:
Asean Football Federation issues clarification,S$500k donation was by NFL club
FAS Elections: Lim Kia Tong, Bill Ng’s teams officially cleared for contest
I thought S$500k donation was for local football, says Ng in twist
SportSG demands FAS clarification over ‘large donations’
I have no business dealings with Bill Ng: Ex-FAS president Zainudin
Police raid FAS, 3 football clubs as report lodged against Tiong Bahru FC
FAS, Bill Ng trade salvos over donation saga ‘lies’
Team LKT did not know about Bill Ng's donations to FAS: Lim Kia Tong (CNA)

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Bill Ng questioned by police after raid on three football clubhouses and FAS
Bill Ng questioned by police after raid on three football clubhouses and FAS
Ng’s wife, ex-FAS president Zainudin Nordin & FAS general secretary Winston Lee also reported to be involved in probe

A day after the local football fraternity was rocked by police raids on the Football Association of Singapore (FAS), & the clubhouses of Tiong Bahru Football Club (TBFC), Woodlands Wellington Football Club (WWFC) and Hougang United, businessman Bill Ng, the man behind the 3 clubs, has been questioned by the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD), his lawyer Shashi Nathan of Withers KhattarWong confimed on Friday (Apr 21). TODAY has also learnt that his wife, Bonnie Wong, is also assisting the police with investigations.

The 57-yr-old had visited the CAD’s headquarters late Thursday night (Apr 20) to assist with investigations. All 3 clubhouses were shuttered & padlocked when TODAY visited their premises on Friday (April 21).

Shashi, who is from Withers KhattarWong, told TODAY: “I have been engaged to represent Bill Ng, and he has been assisting CAD with their inquiries."

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Tiong Bahru FC: A modest clubhouse, but it raked in S$36m last year
Tiong Bahru FC: A modest clubhouse, but it raked in S$36m last year
Investigators arriving with carton boxes and push trolleys at Tiong Bahru Football Club clubhouse at People's Park Centre. Foto: Robin Choo/TODAY

Nestled in an inconspicuous corner at the basement of People’s Park Centre in Upper Cross Street, it would be easy to miss the Tiong Bahru FC (TBFC) clubhouse if not for the brightly colored neon lights illuminating its entrance.

The clubhouse, which operates from 10am to 2.30am daily, is already a popular haunt for retirees on most days. It became the centre of attention for all the wrong reasons on Thursday (Apr 20) as several of its key assets and documents were seized by a group of people whom TODAY understands to be officers of the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD).

This comes following a police report that Sport Singapore (SportSG) lodged against TBFC, which is run by businessman Bill Ng, for suspected misuse of funds, as well as for an attempt by a senior club officer to obstruct the completion of audits into the S.League sit-out clubs. TODAY understands the senior officer refers to Ng.

related:
High drama as police raid FAS office, 3 football clubs
SportSG makes police report against Bill Ng’s Tiong Bahru FC
Police raid FAS, 3 football clubs as report lodged against Tiong Bahru FC
FAS Elections: Bill Ng opens up on Tiong Bahru Utd, W'lands Wellington dealings
FAS’ Winston Lee told Tiong Bahru to donate S$500,000: Bill Ng
SportSG files police report for alleged misuse of Tiong Bahru Football Club’s funds

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Football saga: six points of contention

SO MANY accusations left hanging in the air. Allegations of financial impropriety and other shenanigans – all left unsaid. What are we to make of the statements of protagonists in the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) saga and the police action?

Everybody’s been coy about joining the dots because they might not draw a pretty, and maybe even defamatory, picture.

Here, however, are six points that seem the subject of contention:
  • That $500,000 donation
  • Whose money is it anyway?
  • So what if FAS was the channel?
  • How did Tiong Bahru come to have so much money anyway?
  • So if it’s not illegal, then what’s the problem?
  • Does the saga have anything to do with Mr Ng’s companies?

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Beware the FAS scandal offside trap!

FIFA's 2015 reform package to improve transparency and accountability in the sport includes a call to remove government appointees from leadership of its regional and national administrative bodies. The reformation has seen a fallout in various countries, with political appointees exiting most unwillingly the national administration of their sport. In squeaky clean, corruption-free Singapore, the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) has to comply with FIFA and hold an unprecedented and contentious election for its leadership.

Following accusations of a "compulsory donation" to the FAS that was funnelled to the ASEAN Football Association (AFF), the FAS and three football clubs have been raided by Singapore's Commercial Affairs Department (CAD), the clubs' chief, his opponent in the FAS leadership election, and the former political appointee president have been called in for interviews.

Instead of reading sensationalist reportage and hack pieces attacking Bill Ng and questioning how his profitable clubs have so many jackpot machines, we invite you to try our serious analysis on the real issues surrounding this case.

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Team LKT: Do not know how and who triggered donation or sponsorship to the AFF

Team LKT's leader Lim Kia Tong said on Monday (24 Apr), that they had no knowledge of the S$500,000 donation from businessman Bill Ng that went to the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) in 2015.

Mr Lim told the media the matter was never raised at council meetings, "There was no discussion, this subject was never raised at council or ex-co meetings, and that is the truth."

“In all honesty, myself plus all the other council members did not know about how and who triggered this idea of donation or sponsorship to the ASEAN Football Federation," he said.

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FAS and Furious blame game

For the time being, the FAS story is not about Game Changing. It is quagmired in a Blame Game, in soccer parlance, passing the ball around. And the game is being played rather curiously, with the unsaid and the almost unbelievable testing the thinking public’s patience and intelligence.

Police investigations into Tiong Bahru FC’s alleged misuse of funds and purported attempt by a senior officer of the club to obstruct the completion of audits into several non S-League clubs simply means that answers are being sought to even more questions which may yet to be asked.

By now, we know that Bill Ng approved a Tiong Bahru FC donation of  $500,000 to the Football Association of Singapore. What was it for? Who actually asked for that donation? And why is there a need for everything to be, if not hush-hush, so  indirect?

related: CEO of S.League is Ex-SAF Chief of Artillery earning big salary in FAS

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Speak up Mr Zainudin!
THERE’S something to be said about having free and open elections: It allows questions to be aired in the expectation that answers will be given

I am not a football fan but the saga surrounding the Football Association of Singapore’s (FAS) upcoming April 29 elections has been riveting. Some might say that challenger Mr Bill Ng’s questions regarding a $500,000 donation he (or his Tiong Bahru FC) made was a distraction and that more attention should be paid to the plans of both teams that are contesting the election.

I don’t think so.

What it shows is that an electoral process brings more scrutiny and urges more transparency from office-holders and those vying for the job. So world football governing body Fifa finally realised that for decades, the FAS was breaking the rules by having officers appointed by the G. After seven years on the job, Mr Zainudin Nordin has stepped down to pave the way for elections. FAS is usually headed by an MP, and the past list included those who have made it into ministerial ranks such as Mr Mah Bow Tan and Mr Ho Peng Kee.

related:
Former FAS council members unaware of donation, no oversight on gaming
FAS saga: Fruit machines and the root of all evil
How does Bill Ng spend the jackpot money?
Hat-trick of raids at football clubs, investigations at FAS
Speak up Mr Zainudin!

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Ex-FAS chairman Zainudin Nordin among 4 arrested & out on police bail for donation saga
The drama surrounding a questionable half-million-dollar donation to the ASEAN Football Federation by Tiong Bahru Football Club (TBFC) and Hougang United chairman Bill Ng just can’t stop

Reports by Today and The Straits Times on April 25 revealed that former Football Association of Singapore (FAS) president Zainudin Nordin, FAS General Secretary Winston Lee, Ng and his wife Bonnie Wong are currently out on police bail.

According to Today, the four were initially arrested before being released on bail “to ensure they will return for further investigations.” The Straits Times reported that the bail amounts differ among the individuals and Ng’s bail had been set at S$100,000.

The latest developments come in the wake of a police report made by Sports Singapore on April 19 against TBFC for suspected misuse of club funds, and an investigation into allegations of a senior official – understood to be Ng – attempting to obstruct the completing of audits of three S.League sit-out clubs

related:
FAS Elections: Team LKT strives to distance itself from the donation saga
Former FAS president Zainudin denies having any business ties with Bill Ng
Football Donation Saga: Former FAS president Zainudin’s silence is deafening
Football Drama: More questions for the FAS before the upcoming election.
Football elections: Power, “donations” and much intrigue revealed in the campaign
Ex-FAS chairman Zainudin Nordin among 4 arrested, out on bail for donation saga
FAS Elections: Team LKT strives to distance itself from the donation saga
Former FAS president Zainudin free to comment, denies business ties with Bill Ng
SportSG files police report over the $500,000 FAS donation saga
Football Donation Saga: Former FAS president Zainudin’s silence is deafening
Finally, a newspaper mentioned the “C” word in the AFF/Bill Ng/FAS donations saga
This guy’s critique of the fashion at Mediacorp Star Awards is the best thing ever
SportsSG wants “new” FAS council to account for “large donations”
Football Drama: More questions for the FAS before the upcoming election.

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Former FAS President Zainudin Nordin Arrested in Misuse of Funds Probe
redwire-singapore-fas-zainudin-nordin

Former Football Association of Singapore president Zainudin Nordin has been arrested as police probe his involvement in a suspected misuse of club funds at Tiong Bahru Football Club and an attempt to obstruct audits into clubs.

Zainudin, who stepped down from his post as FAS president last year, was also a PAP MP for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC and Mayor of Central Singapore Community Development Council until 2015.

Others arrested in the probe include Bill Ng, the former chairman of Tiong Bahru football club, Ng’s wife, and Winston Lee who is currently serving as FAS secretary-general. All 4 of them are now out on bail.

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Ex-MP Zainudin Nordin arrested

The former MP has claimed that he has already resigned from his Football Association Singapore (FAS)’s President post when he took up the “adviser” position at the donor’s company (ESW Manage). However, the owner of ESW Manage, Bill Ng, said that the former MP was the one who  asked for a S$500,000 donation to FAS.

It is understood that the S$500,000 donation could be a condition for Zainudin Nordin to resign his FAS’s position and join the company. Deleted webpages of ESW Manage however shows that Zainudin Nordin was both FAS President and ESW Manage’s director (as compared to the “adviser” position he claimed.

Bill Ng, his wife and FAS’s general secretary Winston Lee have also been arrested and are currently out on bail.

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CALLS FOR TIGHTER RULES ON JACKPOT MACHINES BY MP, MANY YEARS TOO LATE
Read with amusement the calls by counsellors and MPs about the need for tighter rules on jackpot machines and operations as these venues provide an easy and accessible outlet for gambling. These venues include heartland football stadiums, suburban malls and social clubs where there are private clubhouses with jackpot rooms filled with jingling fruit machines

Funny, because the calls only come now in the wake of the CAD investigations on the alleged misuse of Club funds in the FAS and Bill Ng saga. These clubhouses have been around for ages, and their presence and the income they generated are not exactly secrets. In fact, many times a football club have indicated that they jackpot machines are actually a steady source of huge income for their clubs to run their operations.

Funny, because now the MPs are all making noises, when in fact the could have done so before this become a matter of public interest. Are these MP jumping on the bandwagon to make their presence known, and their roles as MP, relevant?

Funny, because at the centre of this storm, was an ex MP and PAP man himself, Zainudin Nordin. He certainly did not voice out for tighter rules on jackpot operations. He, of all people, should know about the existence of the machines. After all, he was the FAS president. He cannot claim ignorance, can he?

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Ex-MP disgusted that newspaper failed to highlight that one arrested in FAS-scandal is former PAP MP

The Today newspaper reported that former PAP MP president Zainudin Nordin was arrested along with Hougang United chairman Bill Ng and his wife Bonnie Wong, and Football Association of Singapore (FAS) general secretary Winston Lee. Mr Zainudin (who is also the former FAS chief) and the others are currently out on police bail. The four of them are assisting the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) in a case of improprieties at FAS’ local soccer clubs.

Despite being arrested, the four have not been charged by the police for any crimes yet. Today reported that those that wanted police bail first have to get arrested before one is offered to them. The CAD investigations centers on Mr Ng’s $500,000 donations to FAS.

Former Member of Parliament (MP) for Punggol East, Lee Lilian, has expressed disgust that the newspaper report did not mention that one of the person who was arrested is an ex-People’s Action Party (PAP) MP. Ms Lee is a member of the Workers’ Party.

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Lee Li Lian 李丽连 Yesterday at 06:39

Really, nothing against the people involved.

I'm just Super disgusted with the double standards from our msm. If this is an ex WP MP or maybe even ex-member of the WP, I'm pretty sure the headlines will read 'Ex-WP MP arrested...'

Why like that huh?

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Arrested Ex-FAS Chief Used To Be A PAP MP And The Mainstream Media Left That Out, Lee Li Lian Points Out
Lee Li Lian Unhappy About Reporting On FAS Saga

It was reported on Tuesday (April 25) that Mr Zainudin Nordin, the former president of the Football Association of Singapore (FAS), was arrested over the suspected misuse of funds at Tiong Bahru Football Club, along with 3 others.

Here are the headlines of the relevant articles published on the websites of Today and The Straits Times, as well as Today’s Facebook page:

While the headlines seem rather normal to most, former Worker’s Party member of Parliament Lee Li Lian was extremely triggered by the headline and took to a Facebook post to call the mainstream media out for their “double standards” — because they failed to mention that Mr Zainudin used to be a People’s Action Party (PAP) member of Parliament.

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SportSG called for a full explanation from Football Association of Singapore on usage of donation amount

The unclear distribution and usage of a huge donation that had been given to the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) have caught the attention of SportSG, who has called for a full explanation from the organisation.

Today Online reported that SportSG, the governing body of local sports, noticed the huge figures moved around and sent a statement to the media on Sunday (16 Apr), calling on FAS 'new council' for a full explanation over its usage of donations made by Bill Ng.

Hougang United chairman Bill Ng, had donated close to S$850,000 to the national football body at FAS’s request, but he has called for a full explanation from FAS over its usage of the donations.

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$500,000 “donation was a matter between” former FAS chief & Bill Ng?
studjo-yavor-miastko-74158
I refer to the article “More twists and turns in football donation saga” (Straits Times, Apr 19)

It states that “When asked yesterday why he had signed off on the “Request to donate” letter, a spokesman for Mr Ng replied that the presidential hopeful had done so because “his intent has always been to support FAS and football”.”

As to “The other main point of contention – who asked for the donation? Mr Ng maintains it was Mr Lee, while Mr Lee and Team LKT say the donation was a matter between Mr Zainudin and Mr Ng, although Mr Lee said that he saw nothing untoward about that arrangement.

“FAS Council approval was not needed and not sought because this was a donation which Bill Ng made to AFF, not FAS. I am thus puzzled as to why Bill Ng and the Game Changers have made various unfounded accusations against me, when this matter was discussed and concluded between him and Zainudin directly, as Bill Ng’s own letter clearly shows,” said Mr Lee” – how can an organisation with IPC (Institution of Public Character) status imply that a huge $500,000 donation to a foreign party routed through it (paid to FAS) – “say the donation was a matter between Mr Zainudin and Mr Ng, although Mr Lee said that he saw nothing untoward about that arrangement” and “FAS Council approval was not needed and not sought because this was a donation which Bill Ng made to AFF, not FAS”?

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FAS concedes to FIFA: No more political interference in football appointments
FAS concedes to FIFA: No more political interference in football appointments
The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) agrees to amend its football constitution after FIFA demands no political appointments

The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) has vowed to amend its constitution next year after FIFA demanded an end to political interference in the appointment of the national body's council members.

FAS' decision to comply comes about five months since FIFA suspended Indonesia, after the Jakarta government sought to oust the country's football association.

In a statement issued late Wednesday, September 30, FAS said it will work closely with FIFA on amendments that will "ensure alignment" of its election process with the statutes of the sport's global governing body.

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PAP’S ASSOCIATION WITH FAS COMES TO SAD END, THANKS TO FIFA
Thank you, FIFA

The People’s Action Party’s long association with the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) now seems to have come to a sad end.

This is in light of news, 25 April, that its last-appointed President of the FAS – former Mayor and former PAP Member of Parliament, Zainuddin Nordin – is under police investigation and is currently out on bail.

Also out on bail are the owner of Tiong Bahru Football Club, Bill Ng; his wife, Bonnie Wong; and Winston Lee, former general-secretary of the FAS.

related: REMEMBER SYLVIA LIM’S RALLY SPEECH ABOUT FAS BEING HEADED BY POLITICIANS?

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FIFA Executive Committee unanimously approves extensive reforms
FIFA Executive Committee meeting, 3 December 2015

The Executive Committee has today unanimously approved a set of proposals from the 2016 FIFA Reform Committee to pave the way for significant and much-needed changes to FIFA’s governance structure. The recommendations will be put before the Congress as proposed statutory changes for approval at its extraordinary session in Zurich on 26 February.

“These reforms are moving FIFA towards improved governance, greater transparency and more accountability. They mark a milestone on our path towards restoring FIFA’s credibility as a modern, trusted and professional sports organisation. This signals the beginning of a culture shift at FIFA. It is important to recognise that today’s recommendations build on the foundations established by the IGC in 2011 under Mark Pieth’s leadership, which included the creation of an independent chairman on the Audit and Compliance Committee and splitting the Ethics Committee into investigative and adjudicatory chambers,” explained FIFA’s Acting President Issa Hayatou.

“As the February Congress approaches, I want to encourage all presidential candidates to embrace this spirit of reform and, as they campaign, to make clear their plans on how they would help FIFA enact these and other reform measures, should they be elected.”

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