Ng Ser Miang, a board member of the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC), has been found guilty of failing to act with integrity as a former member of the World Sailing Ethics Committee and being alleged to have interfered in its presidential election.
The findings were made by an independent board investigating complaints made over the 2020 World Sailing elections by then-President Kim Andersen, alleging that Ng had committed “gross violations” of the World Sailing Ethics Commission ethics code.
Ng, who was also a former vice president of the SNOC, also holds many other appointments, such as the vice president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
A position that World Sailing had accused Ng of “misusing” “in order to intervene in the election and politics of an autonomous International Federation (IF)”.
Ng had allegedly emailed a member of the World Sailing Election Commission, which quoted IOC chief ethics and compliance officer Pâquerette Girard Zappelli, and warned allegations against Mr Andersen, who was then the incumbent President and another candidate, Scott Perry, could damage the organisation’s reputation if they were elected. The email had been seen by members of the media.
In light of the judgement against him, Ng has been handed an official warning and fined €1,000 (S$1,415).
Ng has denied the allegations against him and resigned from the World Sailing Ethics Commission in December 2020.
“I served the World Sailing Ethics Commission as a volunteer and have done so without fear and favour, and in full compliance with its rules and regulations.”
“World Sailing has no jurisdiction over me after December 2020.”
“I have not taken part in any of their proceedings and reject any allegations and sanctions made against me by World Sailing.”
Dr Dieter Neupert, who was also found guilty of the same charges, said that he and Ng will appeal to the English courts as per the World Sailing constitution.
SNOC’s “obsession” with conduct for its athletes
The SNOC has, on many occasions, preached about the importance of good conduct and role model behaviour for Singapore athletes.
In 2019 and 2022, the SNOC even resorted to the non-selection of record-breaking Singapore marathon record holder Soh Rui Yong for the SEA Games and Asian Games owing to “conduct that falls short of the standards of attitude and behaviour that the SNOC expects of and holds its athletes to”.
Since then, the council said, Soh has made no attempt to make amends, correct or apologise for his conduct and behaviour.
“Instead, there have been continued and persistent actions by Soh to challenge, mock, threaten and/or disrespect organisations and individuals including the SNOC.”
Just last year, the SNOC again preached about the conduct and behaviour of athletes when it fined swimmers Joseph Schooling, Amanda Lim, and Teong Tzern Wei for breaching conduct rules during the 2022 SEA Games.
SNOC said that “regardless of past achievements, discipline has to be maintained both in and out of the sporting arena, and the SNOC code of conduct has to be upheld and breaches thereof enforced with firmness laced with the appropriate level of empathy.”
Ng Ser Miang’s 2017 clash with Soh Rui Yong
Complicating matters further, Ng first clashed with Soh in 2017 when Ng put up a Facebook post appearing to criticise Soh for his public disputes with the SNOC and Singapore Athletics over multiple issues during the 2017 SEA Games:
Soh spoke out against the validity of Ashley Liew’s sportsmanship award. Ng was one of those present for Liew’s award ceremony, and as a SNOC Board Member, was part of the organisation that nominated Liew for the award in the first place. He was then excluded from Team Singapore selection for the 2019 and 2022 SEA Games and 2022 Asian Games.
To TOC’s knowledge, details of Soh’s alleged misconduct were never given by the SNOC despite multiple queries seeking clarification on the matter.
The way things have played out, one might form an opinion that a main factor in Soh’s repeated non-selection could be due to a personal issue between the senior SNOC member and Soh that originated because of the disputes in 2017.
Coming back to the present, what action will the SNOC take against its board member?
Should someone who has failed to act with integrity be allowed to remain on the board? Doing so would indicate that SNOC accepts members who fail to act with integrity.
Would SNOC then be in a position to judge the conduct and behaviour of others, such as Soh, as they have done in the past? What is the code of conduct for SNOC board members, and who is in charge of enforcing it, as SNOC has enforced on athletes in the past?
Given that SNOC has made a big deal of alleged athlete misconduct in the past, and with one of their own board members has been found guilty of serious misconduct, that of acting with lack of integrity, Singapore awaits the decision it will take.
Will it be fair? Or will it accept the lack of integrity to protect one of its own?
TOC has written to SNOC for its response and will include them when they reply.