“What jurisdiction does FAS even have over non FAS activities?” asked ex-sports journalist Jose Raymond following the Association’s media statement on banned former national footballer K Kannan last Friday (20 Aug).
In a Facebook post on Monday (24 Aug), Mr Raymond, who was previously the chairman of Singapore People’s Party (SPP), questioned the Association’s jurisdiction over non-FAS activities and said that it has yet to address the issue at hand.
“Article 75.8 of the FAS own Constitution clearly confines the permanent suspension of players or officials to be limited to only ‘football management, membership, or the activities of the FAS’,” he explained, adding that Mr Kannan’s role at the Indian Association (IA) does not fall under FAS jurisdiction.
“Activities at the IA are not activities of the FAS, and its legal reach does not cover social and private clubs which are not affiliated.
“The FAS are not Lords of All Football Activities in Singapore,” chided Mr Raymond.
FAS’ statement was made in response to an earlier post by Mr Raymond about Mr Kannan’s lifetime ban in which he said that it is “preposterous” that Mr Kannan wasn’t even allowed to play football with his friends.
Mr Raymond had also included a photo of a letter signed by FAS president Lim Kia Tong issued to Mr Kannan reminding him that he was not to partake in any football-related activities either directly or indirectly.
Specifically, FAS took issue with Mr Raymond’s attachment of only the last two paragraphs of the letter and leaving out the rest, which the Association said gave the public an “incorrect impression” that Mr Kannan received a letter just for playing “social football”.
FAS noted that the unseen second and third paragraphs of that letter stated that the Association has been informed of Mr Kannan’s involvement in football management and football activities, including playing the sport, at the IA.
In his latest post, however, Mr Raymond emphasised that the FAS’ own constitution does not bar Mr Kannan from playing and assisting in football-related events in IA, given that the IA is not an affiliate of the FAS.
He also revealed that the football covenor of the IA had sent several correspondences to the FAS last year about this matter. The letters demanded an explanation over the 12 August 2020 letter sent by the FAS to Mr Kannan following a complaint it received from someone at the IA.
“Despite repeated reminders from the IA football convenor, there was no response to the issue even though the office of the FAS General Secretary responded to say there would be a response in due course,” said Mr Raymond.
IA President Vishnu Pillai followed up with a note to the FAS on 25 January this year about this matter but has yet to receive a response, Mr Raymond added.
He continued, “The FAS should make public who from the IA sent the complaint, under what auspices was the complainant filing the said complaint, whether the FAS checked against its own constitution before issuing the response to Kannan, and why it still hasn’t responded to the IA despite repeated requests.
“The FAS’ response to my Facebook post and the subsequent media queries clearly shows that it still believes it has legal jurisdiction over activities of an individual at a private members club, which is not an affiliate of its body.”
Mr Raymond also pointed out that the FAS has yet to respond to the other issue he brought up in a separate post on the issuing of bans to players, in particular the “unfairness” in which the Association has meted out lifetime bans.
In a separate Facebook post on 20 August, Mr Raymond highlighted that seven Liaoning Guangyuan players convicted of match-fixing in Singapore back in 2008 were not given lifetime bans by the FAS.
He described this as “grossly unfair” and demanded that the FAS explain why these seven players were not given lifetime bans like so many others including Mr Kannan.
Mr Raymond repeated this call in his latest post, saying: “The FAS needs to explain itself, and perhaps even put its hands up and accept that it may have made a mistake, in trying to dictate what Kannan could and could not do at a private members club which it has no jurisdiction over.”
Focusing on Mr Kannan’s ban, he pointed out that the ex-footballer was punished in 1995 for a mistake he made and has “served his dues”.
“After 26 years, he remains on a list of banned players, without any review, and yet the FAS still continues to believe it has a right to curtail his private and social football activities,” said Mr Raymond, describing the act as “shocking”.
Mr Kannan has submitted an appeal to the FAS regarding his ban. The FAS said that the matter is “currently undergoing the due process” and that it would be “inappropriate” for the FAS to make further comments matter until the FAS Council has made an official decision.