Movement to oust Football Association of S’pore incumbents gains momentum
Is this the end of FAS as we know it?
The practice of the government appointing office bearers for the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) received the red card after almost half a century. Such government influence, which kicked off in 1968, will soon come to a complete stop.
The genesis of the long-overdue FAS elections was kick-started after questions were raised.
On July 10, 2015, I sent the first of two emails to FIFA, seeking clarification on its stand on government influence in national football associations.
Within three days of my initial email, FIFA called on FAS to revise its constitution, paving the way for Singapore’s football elections, which are expected to be held in November.
Government-appointed football officials in Singapore are finally no longer tolerated by FIFA.
The biggest question now is whether there will be a competent group of football administrators to take over the management of the Republic’s hottest sport.
Putting together a team
On Wednesday night, Sept. 15, for more than two hours at a function room in the Metropolitan YMCA Singapore, one of the four teams expected to contest in the elections unveiled its manifesto during a meeting with officials of 19 National Football League (NFL) and Islandwide League (IWL) clubs, which are voting members of FAS.
The team is championed by R. Vengadasalam, best known for being a former team manager of Woodlands Wellington.
Team Venga’s manifesto, which carries the slogan “For the betterment of Singapore football”, covers crucial areas of Singapore’s football development and seeks major changes to the way the sport has been governed for years.
In its electoral battle with the government-appointed FAS incumbents, some of whom are expected to run in the elections, Team Venga called for unity among voting members.
Team Venga plans to introduce a promotion-and-relegation system involving S.League and NFL clubs, something the FAS has failed to do for the past 20 years, since the S.League began in 1996.
Venga’s team wants the S.League expanded to 10 Singaporean teams without any foreign clubs, while the NFL would be transformed from an amateur into a semi-professional competition.
Part of Team Venga’s vision also sees Singaporean footballers and coaches being given opportunities to be involved in the sport at a higher level.
Another planned major revamp involves disbanding the Young Lions team which FAS has been fielding in the S.League since 2003. Venga is convinced this will instil hunger in players competing for a place in the national team.
The current problem? Most players selected for the Lions come from the Young Lions outfit (or the now-defunct LionsXII team), with competition for places in the national squad not as keen as it should be.
Team Venga’s manifesto includes targets for the Lions, SEA Games team and S.League clubs from 2018 to 2022.
Besides unveiling his manifesto, Venga also announced the candidacy of Alfred Dodwell, the legal adviser of IWL club Gymkhana F.C., of which Venga is the team manager.
Dodwell, a 49-year-old lawyer, will be contesting for a seat in the FAS Council. However, Venga has yet to reveal the identity of his team’s presidential candidate.
In what could be seen as a setback for the FAS incumbents, Team Venga’s manifesto was well-received by the NFL and IWL club officials last night.
Michael Y.P. Ang writes about Singaporean sport, politics and society without paying any attention to political correctness. He is formerly a Channel NewsAsia journalist and sports administrator. Follow his Facebook page Michael Ang Sports for his views on sport in Singapore.