Govt won't interfere in S'pore qualifying for 2034 World Cup, after WP MP Faisal Manap asked what's the plan

No updates from FAS about plans since August 2019.

Belmont Lay | March 06, 2020, 06:36 PM

Workers' Party Aljunied GRC MP Muhamad Faisal Abdul Manap asked one important question in Parliament on behalf of football-mad Singaporeans: What is the Singapore government doing to see to the country's 2034 World Cup qualification?

The response, ironically, is that the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth and the Football Association of Singapore are kicking, like a football, the responsibility of answering.

Apart from that, it appears the government is satisfied with not proactively managing the sporting goal.

Not government's job to interfere

The answer, as revealed in Parliament on March 6 by the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth’s Senior Parliamentary Secretary Baey Yam Keng, is that the government will not interfere in the running of sports associations in Singapore.

What Baey meant by this, is that the government will instead wait on the plans put forth by the FAS, even though both sides have met.

But this did not answer Faisal Manap's question, as he started off by saying that the last he heard of any updates was in August 2019.

Not entirely convinced by Baey's response, Potong Pasir SMC MP Sitoh Yih Pin asked Baey in a follow-up question if MCCY was supportive of Goal 2034.

In response, Baey said it was not a goal set by the government.

Here's a full transcript of the exchanges in Parliament:

WP Faisal Manap's question to MCCY:

Sir, in August 2019 it was reported in the media that vice president of Football Association of Singapore, Mr. Edwin Tong mentioned that, I quote "FIFA World Cup in 2034 will be a realistic goal for Singapore." End of quote.

Following this good news, I had filed a parliamentary question in September 2019 on the matter.

I asked the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, MCCY, "What are the Football Association of Singapore strategic plans in working towards achieving this goal for Singapore's football national team to qualify for FIFA World Cup in 2034?"

Sir, the ministry replied as follows, I quote: "The Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth welcomes our Team Singapore athletes and sports associations to strive for excellence and support them realising their goal. We look forward to hearing from the FAS on a plan to achieving their stated goal, and how the football fraternity, community and the government can support them in their efforts." End of quote.

Sir, I've been looking forward, and waited since like September 2019 for updates from the Football Association of Singapore and MCCY.

This time around I do hope to hear some positive sharing from the ministry on the matter. Thank you, sir.

Baey's response to Faisal Manap:

Mr. Faisal Manap asked us about our plans for the Singapore national football team qualifying for World Cup 2034.

The government does not interfere with the management of a national sports associations, including the Football Association of Singapore. We were briefed by the FAS on the plans for Goal 2034 and have given FAS feedback. We look forward to hearing back from them on their plans, and how we can best support them.

Sitoh's follow-up question to Baey:

I hear the SPS (Senior Parliamentary Secretary) mentioned about FAS Goal 2034. And you mentioned that government does not interfere in NSAs and you're asking questions to the FAS and you appear to say that the ball in the FAS court.

But I think 2034 as a football fan myself and like many Singaporeans here, I find it awesome and most inspiring, and I think many Singaporeans do look forward to the, you know, to the old days where we can go back to the Kallang stadium for the Kallang Roar. So, may I ask what is MCCY's position on Goal 2034 and whether you're supporting it, and if so, how are you supporting it? Thank you.

Baey's response to Sitoh:

Goal 2034 is a goal set by FAS.

It's not a goal set by the government.

So, the role of the government is support our NSA where possible. We have asked FAS for briefing on how they aim to achieve the goal.

We had a discussion and we have given some inputs that they may want to look at their mid-term and long-term development plans for youth in order to achieve Goal 2034.

Understand that FAS has taken the feedback and they are in the midst of talking to other stakeholders to further refine this vision and we look forward to sharing its plans on how it will achieve or attain Goal 2034.