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.

On Thursday (13 Apr) Mr Ng, who is contesting the president’s role in the upcoming inaugural FAS elections as part of Team Game Changers, revealed that S$200,000 of the money went to support the LionsXII in 2012, but he urged the media to ask FAS on where the remaining funds have gone.

FAS general secretary Winston Lee responded quickly, confirming the LionsXII donation and that a further S$500,000 went towards the ASEAN Football Federation’s (AFF), saying that Ng had ‘full knowledge’ over the funds’ usage. However no explanation of the remaining S$150,000 or thereabout mentioned.

The Sunday Times reported that it was the then-FAS president Zainudin Nordin who had approached Ng for the S$500,000 donation to the AFF.

A SportSG spokesperson said that much have been reported about the management of large donations to or through the FAS.

“As the sports sector charity administrator, Sport Singapore (SportSG) will require the new council to provide a complete and satisfactory report on the management of these matters,” the spokesperson said.

“Meanwhile, the FAS Provisional Council, which had reached the end of its term, had recently informed SportSG that that the external auditors engaged by the FAS to audit the S.League sit-out clubs required more time to complete the audit, specifically with respect to certain transactions,” the SportSG spokesperson added.

Before deciding on follow-up actions SportSG would wait for the completion of the audit and the submission of the report, which is taking longer than expected, the spokesperson continued.

Team Game Changers’ Lau Kok Keng, a partner with law firm Rajah & Tann, who is competing for the deputy president post at the upcoming FAS elections also called upon SportSG to get Lee and Zainudin to provide written explanations on the channeling of fund to the AFF.

Lau said in a statement, “The issue of the donation to a foreign entity is one which the current administration and the previous Council must be accountable for.”

“Rather than wait till after the elections are over, it may be more expedient for SportSG to direct the General Secretary and former President of the FAS to provide written explanations at this point in time on the channeling of the donated sums to the benefit of the AFF. It appears that both individuals may have direct, personal knowledge of the transactions involved, and their statements will go a long way towards unraveling what had transpired,” Lau said.

Many netizens voiced their disappointments on Today’s Facebook of the news; some are quoted below.

Royston Soon wrote: “A $850k donation to FAS end up with only $200k for local football. No wonder Singapore football is in chaos. The usage of $500k towards AFF sounds suspicious, and should be looked into for CBT.”

Jony Ling wrote: “Clowns like Winston Lee and Zainudin Nurdin are killing football. And they have the cheek to stand for elections. Can’t we just demolish the entire FAS and start all over again? It’s more work dealing with detritus like Lee and Nordin than to start on a clean slate.”

Thomas Hoon wrote: “I miss SG football.. I really do. The good old days of SG football has been destroyed by greedy administrators. SG football has been ill for a long time and really in dire need for fresh impetus to rejuvenate the organization. Please, for goodness sake, elect ones with football in the blood, not those who horde the limelight for their personal benefits.”

Toh Yiu Kwong wrote: “The rot in Singapore soccer starts with the leadership and we have the same incumbents wanting to continue their personal power and glory over the sport. Isn’t it time we stop the politicians from meddling in Singapore soccer? We don’t need a government agenda from stopping capable people to take over from politicians out for personal and political goals. Please put aside your political ambitions and allow soccer to flourish again in Singapore.”

Allen Tan wrote: “The standard of our players’ skill in local clubs is dismal. When we are trying to level up Singapore’s standard of football, FAS priority is to the local scene and to support its local clubs, who are struggling to make ends meet. There should be a limit set on how much FAS can support foreign institution. In this regard, perhaps that limit should be set at 10 percent of total support to the local scene and clubs. In this way the bulk of the funding goes to improve the lot of our own people / players.”

Suresh Kumar wrote: “Why the FAS is not giving proper statement to clear any wrongdoing?”