The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) has cleared the final administrative hurdle that stands in the way of a calling for the National Sports Association's first democratic election.
After changing its constitution - to allow for the election of its leadership - last November, all that remained was for FAS to draw up an electoral code.
That was completed and sent out to its 46 affiliates last Friday.
The electoral code defines the regulations and procedures in the organising of an election, including procedures of nominations, examinations of nominees and the conduct of the election itself.
"Following the approval of the new constitution, we embarked on the final phase of our preparations for the election of council members: the drafting of the electoral code," said an FAS spokesman in response to queries from The New Paper.
"We consulted Fifa and AFC during the drafting process, and the final draft of the Electoral Code has since been sent to members.
"The election will be called after we have received the inputs from members and the subsequent finalisation of the Electoral Code."
TNP understands that barring any violent objections from its affiliates, the electoral code will be implemented, without the need for an Extraordinary General Meeting (EOGM).
TNP had a look at FAS' electoral code, and key principles spelt out in the document called for an election free from influences outside of the football fraternity, including the government.
The electoral code states that the FAS provisional council will "continue to exercise their functions and rights until the completion of the electoral process" and that "government interference of any kind in the electoral process under the Code is not permitted".
The document specified that "government rules on elections shall not apply" and that the code will "not require the approval of any kind by government agencies."
The FAS' provisional council was appointed on Nov 15 last year, with its term to end on March 17, 2017.
The absolute deadline for the FAS' new leadership to take office has been set as May.
The next step for the FAS is to name its three-man Electoral Committee - backed by current FAS general secretary Winston Lee as its secretary - on the day it calls for election.
As stipulated in the code, the chairperson of the committee will be the chairman of the FAS Disciplinary Committee - K Bala Chandran.
The deputy chairperson of the Electoral Committee will be the FAS' Ethics Committee chairman - Jeffrey Beh.
The remaining member of the electoral committee will be the chairman of the FAS' Audit Committee - Jackson Yap.
The three men must not be members of the executive body of the FAS, and will have to declare their candidature for elected posts if they are intending to run for office.
The 46 affiliates had until yesterday to write in with their views on the electoral code.
TNP understands that at least one of its affiliates has raised questions over the 16-page document.
While it is unclear what issues the affiliate has raised, Alfred Dodwell, who has declared his intention to run at the upcoming election and is believed to be part of a team including former Singapore international R Sasikumar, thought the code could be further refined.
The lawyer took issue with the information candidates are required to furnish in nomination forms - including insolvency clearance records - and who has access to such data.
"I commend the hard work put into the electoral code, but there are some concerns as to who holds the data and whether the general secretary who is a paid staff (of the FAS) should also be in the Electoral Committee," he told TNP yesterday.
The requirement for personal declarations was already stated in the new FAS constitution.
While Dodwell believes that there are some issues with the electoral code, he is pleased the wheels are set in motion.
"I believe with some compromise from the drafters to accommodate alternative perspective and views, it is largely a workable code and should finally pave the way for the FAS election."
This article was first published on February 9, 2017.
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