Last week, S-League side Balestier Khalsa was in the news for the way it treated some of its foreign footballers.
Now, the club is now facing a salvo from its local brigade over allegations that its management did not communicate clearly how bonuses from its victorious RHB Singapore Cup campaign last year would be shared.
According to players The Straits Times spoke to, Balestier chairman S. Thavaneson said $75,000 of the $100,000 the club received from beating Home United 3-1 in the final would be shared among the squad of 25 players as a bonus. The club would keep the balance of the winnings.
However, some players are now crying foul after learning that up to $6,000 was deducted from the $75,000 pot for fines the club incurred owing to the number of bookings the players had picked up from referees.
Midfielder Ruhaizad Ismail, who was released by the Tigers after his contract expired in November, said: "The chairman came into the dressing room before training one day and wrote down the $75,000 figure on the whiteboard. He said the amount would be ours. I know some players were quite happy after that, because it was quite a large amount."
Defender Syed Thaha, who has since joined Geylang International, said: "We were only told of the deductions after the bonus was given out. The club could have communicated that to us earlier."
One player who is still with the club confirmed the duo's account. He added: "Two players got nothing. But football is a team game. We heard that the cleaners at Toa Payoh Stadium got $100. It's a very nice touch from the club, so why can't the club do this for the players who didn't play?"
Thavaneson defended the club's policy, saying: "The bonus has to be shared with the technical staff and stadium staff, because everyone contributed. It's a fair distribution.
"We analysed each yellow card on a case-by-case basis, and deducted it from the pot accordingly. For example, if the club gets fined when a player abuses the referee, should the player get away with it? But we won't penalise a tackle to win the ball."
On some players receiving no bonus, he said: "Ask the player to name himself. And we will tell the public why he got what he got."
The Straits Times understands that deducting fines from win bonuses is not a common practice in the S-League.
Thaveneson stood firm, insisting: "The (distribution of the) bonus is the prerogative of the club... A lot of things are communicated to the players, but if you only listen to what you want to hear, this is what happens."
This article was first published on Jan 12, 2015.
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