SINGAPORE - On the pitch, Geylang International seem like they are on the road to recovery, with both their S.League and Prime League (Under-21) sides having stemmed the run of early-season losses.
But off-the-field issues continue to trouble the Bedok-based outfit.
While administrative issues like work permit delays, tardy player registration and unratified coaching papers (see sidebar) may have contributed to initial poor results, Geylang's latest blunder has directly cost their Prime League team three points.
The club fielded Wyldan Wisam in their 3-1 win over the National Football Academy (NFA) Under-18s on March 30, but the player had a one-match ban carried over from last season, causing him to be suspended for that match.
In response to queries from The New Paper, a Football Association of Singapore (FAS) spokesman confirmed that Geylang will suffer a deduction of three points.
"For flouting competition rules, the match was overturned 3-0 in favour of NFA U-18. The club have acknowledged the error and we consider the case closed," said the spokesman, who revealed that Geylang's oversight came about despite FAS' moves to prevent such issues.
He added: "All clubs, including Geylang, were informed of the list of suspended players prior to their matches."
After losing the opening three games of the Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League season, Geylang relegated their coach, V Kanan to the Prime League team, and handed the reins to former Woodlands Wellington boss Jorg Steinebrunner.
Steinebrunner's Geylang are now on a three-game unbeaten streak, with two wins and a draw, ahead of tonight's fixture against Hougang United.
After the overturned result, Geylang's Prime League side now have a record of four losses and one win.
"It is quite clear, and we have nothing to hide. We overlooked (FAS') e-mail, and that's why this happened," said Geylang general manager Andrew Ang, who revealed that internal action had yet to be taken.
"The facts have been presented to the management committee, and we are waiting for their decision."
In 2010, Geylang's Prime League side saw four of their results overturned, resulting in a 10-point deduction for fielding an ineligible player in those games.
The 2010 situation was slightly different: the player in question, Ang Zhi Wei, was then a full-time National Serviceman, and the club fielded him after speaking to the relevant authorities, but not before obtaining written permission, as required per league rules.
The club parted ways with then Prime League coach, D Tokijan saying that he took "responsibility for the situation, decided that he is answerable for it, and left the club." S.LEAGUE
This article was published on April 11 in The New Paper.
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