The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) confirmed yesterday that it has received correspondence from world football governing body, Fifa, requesting a review of its constitution.
The New Paper has learnt that this is not the first time Fifa has asked questions with regard to article 19.3 of the FAS constitution, having in the past, granted waivers that the national football body had requested on the issue. The FAS is hopeful of being able to work with Fifa again on the matter.
Last updated in 2011, article 19.3 of the constitution states that "all council members shall be appointed by the Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports (the former name of the current Ministry of Culture Community and Youth (MCCY)" - including the FAS president - "and shall, unless otherwise decided by the Minister, hold office for a period of two years".
Article 19.3 could be construed as government interference in football activities, which Fifa has strict rules against.
Article 13.1.(i) of Fifa's own statutes states that member associations are obliged to "manage their own affairs and ensure that their own affairs are not influenced by any third parties", under the threat of sanctions and suspension for violations.
Fifa has taken issue with two other South-east Asia nations - Brunei (suspended from football activities from September 2009 to May 2011) and Indonesia, which is still serving a suspension imposed in May this year - for government interference in recent years.
However, FAS president Zainudin Nordin (right), who will come to the end of his third two-year term at the helm in September, believes that the FAS could work things out with the world governing body. "We have been engaging Fifa and having discussions with them on this," he told The New Paper yesterday.
"We have aligned ourselves with Fifa's requirements of governance, except for this (article 19.3 which states that the Minister of MCCY shall appoint all FAS council members, including the president). In turn, Fifa has granted us time to align our Constitution on the electoral process with theirs."
TNP understands that Singapore's reputation for good governance could have influenced Fifa's decision to grant the FAS waivers in the past, but it is not clear what has caused the issue to be raised again, and if this is indeed the end of the line for article 19.3.
In response to TNP's queries, FAS spokesman Gerard Wong said: "Fifa has informed us that it would like to review our statutes. We are happy to provide them with any information that they will need."
In the case of both Brunei and Indonesia, Fifa stepped in to appoint "normalisation committees" -- composed of individuals from within their respective football communities - to take over their respective FA executive committees in a bid to solve problems and revise statutes, as well as act as an electoral commission if need be.
The football associations of Maldives as well as that of Togo have seen normalisation committees appointed, with the Maldivian committee tasked to organise elections by the end of September, and Togo asked to do the same by the end of November.
Zainudin remains hopeful that it will not come to that.
He said: "They (Fifa) have asked us for a timeline, and we will be working together with them to resolve this."
This article was first published on July 20, 2015.
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