Football: FAS passes FIFA test

Football: FAS passes FIFA test
TOP BRASS: FAS president Zainudin Nordin (centre), flanked by VPs Bernard Tan (near right) and Edwin Tong at the association’s AGM last year.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

Brunei fell foul of it in the past, and now Indonesia are paying the price, for failing to prevent government intervention in their football affairs.

The statutes of world football governing body Fifa 13.1.(i) state 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.

And with two South-east Asian nations having the book thrown at them in the last six years, questions are being raised over the Football Association of Singapore (FAS)'s situation.

Last updated in 2011, article 19.3 of the FAS 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 president - "and shall, unless otherwise decided by the Minister, hold office for a period of two years".

Incumbent FAS president Zainudin Nordin, who is a member of parliament for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC, has held the role for three consecutive two-year terms since 2009.

Lim Kia Tong, FAS vice-president and deputy chairman of Fifa's disciplinary committee, believes that the Singapore situation is distinctly different.

"There are areas in the FAS constitution that may lead to questions about government intervention, but I don't think the FAS contravenes Fifa statutes," Lim, a lawyer and also president of the AFC disciplinary committee, told The New Paper.

"Like, for instance, the provision which says that all council members are appointed by the minister.

"However, it must be noted that there is a constitutional requirement for the appointment to be confirmed by an absolute majority at the Annual General Meeting. "Furthermore, the people appointed come from different walks of life and some are from clubs who are ordinary or associate members. Most of them are not from the government," he added.

Fifa's decision to suspend the Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) on May 30, after government interference in the national league, made Indonesia the second country from the region to suffer that fate in the last six years.

This article was first published on July 16, 2015.
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