FAS election nears, former Tampines Rovers chief ready to step forward

Former Woodlands Wellington manager R Vengadasalam, flanked by James Lim (left) and Alfred Dodwell (right), outside the Football Association of Singapore's (FAS') Jalan Besar headquarters after FAS' Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Sep 24, 2016.

The die has been cast, and it is just a matter of time - weeks, at most two months - before Singapore's football fraternity put forward the men and women who will govern the game from their Jalan Besar headquarters.

The local grapevine has been abuzz with how the lines are being drawn, which camps are forming and starting to recruit, and how many votes have already been secured.

So far, though, there remains little clarity over who will be involved in the first-ever election for the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) Council.

Former chairman of S.League giants Tampines Rovers Teo Hock Seng, 70, declined to confirm mutterings that he will join a team being put together by incumbent FAS vice-president Lim Kia Tong.

But, speaking to The New Paper from Europe yesterday, he declared that he is ready to step forward.

"Whoever invites me, I will join them. If there's any way I can help, I will," said the veteran football administrator.

Teo was also reportedly being wooed by Hougang United chairman Bill Ng, whom the former Tampines football chief said was a "good friend".

While there have been a number of reports stating that Ng would form a team to run in the election, he has not expanded on what his plans are.

At the FAS Extraordinary General Meeting on Monday, affiliates voted to pass amendments to the proposed new constitution - the new constitution will be put forward to the Registrar of Societies, the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth and the Commissioner of Charities for approval, which is expected to be a formality - and it will now allow the fraternity to elect their own leaders.

Speaking to TNP on Monday, Lim revealed that he was "seriously considering" running for the post of FAS president, but like former journalist Suresh Nair - who has reportedly also been busy assembling a team - he did not feel that it was an appropriate time to elaborate.

Suresh told TNP that he will only name his team when the FAS announces the dates of the election.

BIGGER ROLE

Airtime on the FAS election has been dominated by R Vengadasalam, who is the campaign manager of Team Majulah, but the former Woodlands Wellington manager revealed that he is poised to play an even larger role.

The team will see some changes in personnel and a refined manifesto.

"The team have not broken up. We are just undergoing a reconfiguration," said Venga, in response to TNP queries on talk of a split in the team.

Team Majulah had earlier unveiled two candidates: former People's Association deputy director James Lim and lawyer Alfred Dodwell. But James Lim has already broken away, saying that he will play no further part in the team.

To run for FAS president, a candidate must have played an active role in association football in two of the last five years.

Said Venga: "We'll continue to see how we can form a good team for the election, and as of now, we easily have six candidates from the Island Wide League and National Football League sides, as well as people who are professionals.

"Sometimes with a big team it's not possible to get everyone to agree, but our team are not a team of yes men."

Despite his breakaway, James Lim backed Venga's move for office.

"Venga is a person I respect and I know from working with him on Woodlands Wellington and the amendments of the FAS constitution - his heart is with Singapore football.

"He will have time for local football, and that is what was lacking with the present (FAS) council."

shamiro@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Nov 9, 2016.
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