SINGAPORE - Reinstated, but not exonerated.
That's the stance of the Singapore Athletic Association (SAA), even as an independent appeals panel overturned the track and field body's suspension of two senior officials yesterday.
SAA vice-president (organising and competition) Loh Chan Pew and vice-president (training and selection) Steven Lee had been suspended since a management committee meeting on Feb 18.
But a three-person appeals panel, chaired by Singapore Rugby Union chief Low Teo Ping, found that the SAA's action to suspend Loh and Lee (inset) was "not robust enough in accordance with due process" of the SAA constitution.
In a statement, SAA president Tang Weng Fei said he accepted the "final and binding" decision of the appeals panel on behalf of the management committee, and that Loh and Lee had been reinstated with immediate effect.
But, he insisted it did not clear the duo of their alleged wrongdoing which prompted the SAA management committee to hand down the bans.
Speaking to The New Paper last night, Tang said: "The appeals panel did not look at the misbehaviour (of Loh and Lee), it just looked at the due process of the suspension.
"And it (the suspension) was not robust enough as Chan Pew wasn't present at the management committee meeting (on Feb 18). Steven was there but he kept quiet.
"It does not exonerate them from the misbehaviour."
Loh could not make it for the meeting as he was hospitalised at the time.
Despite the less-than-cordial response from Tang, he was quoted in a statement as saying he looked forward to Loh and Lee's contributions to the SAA now that they are reinstated.
The New Paper understands the SAA management committee will not take any further action against the duo but it is likely they will not be on Tang's team when the body's elections come round in June.
Loh, a former national sprinter, was charged for behaving aggressively at an SAA exco meeting.
He later sent an e-mail to the CEO of Sport Singapore, Lim Teck Yin, alleging that a senior member of the SAA was involved in irregular practices.