S. League: No subsidy advance for stags

PHOTO: Zainudin Nordin

Tampines Rovers' chairman Krishna Ramachandra has called for the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) to make its position known, after requesting an advance of the annual subsidies due to S.League clubs.

Title-contenders Tampines have asked for help due to cash-flow issues, but FAS chief Zainudin Nordin made it clear yesterday that the national body cannot provide direct financial help.

The only way the FAS can help Tampines is by tapping on its network to help the club find sponsors and donors.

"The current situation is clear - we are an IPC (Institution of Public Character) and there are things we can't do, it's as simple as that. There are rules to abide by and clubs know how things work. It's not like the S.League started just last year," said FAS president Zainudin, who was speaking on the sidelines of the RHB Singapore Cup draw.

Zainudin explained that while subsidies are due to clubs, the system in place requires clubs to submit documentation before funds can be approved and released to them, a process that occurs every month.

Each club are due around $600,000 in annual subsidies from the FAS, which are paid out in monthly tranches of approximately $50,000, with an additional amount of some $300,000 to come should clubs meet predetermined targets.

"Up to the month of March, (Tampines) have been paid whatever that is due to them, that (monthly disbursement of subsidies) is the procedure and we have to follow it," said Zainudin.

"But it does not mean we won't help them, and the solution is a simple one - find money."

Registered as an IPC since 2012, Zainudin revealed that the FAS has had experience aiding other clubs in the past, including an instance in 2009 when a senior official went personally to the Yishun Stadium to pay wages to personnel of former S.League side Super Reds - as a loan to the club - to prevent a situation where players refused to play until their salaries were paid.

Zainudin does not think the Tampines situation will deteriorate to such a level, especially since Krishna has already declared that the club will be able to meet their salary obligations.

"We have met (with Krishna) many times and we have to be confident in what the chairman has said," said Zainudin, who added the S.League has been good this year with crowds returning to stadiums and growing rivalry between teams.

"He is trying to build a team that can play good football, and trying to motivate and encourage the sport here. But I've also lauded several chairmen like Teo Hock Seng (the former Tampines chairman) and (former Geylang International chief) Leong Kok Fann."

STAR-STUDDED TEAM

Krishna became chairman of Tampines last November after Teo stepped down. He has assembled a team boasting former Liverpool and Arsenal winger Jermaine Pennant, along with a host of Singapore internationals.

Zainudin asserted that while the league has a standing practice requiring clubs to present their annual budgets to authorities before the start of the season, the Tampines cash-flow situation did not arise out of any corporate governance slip-up on the part of the league's administrators.

"Budget projections are just predictions, and sometimes clubs don't get everything that they were promised by sponsors upfront. Often sponsors keep coming in during the course of the season, so we have to trust (clubs) in their negotiation with sponsors," said Zainudin, who does not buy into talk that Tampines' issues could be put down to a management team that are wet behind the ears.

He said: "This team are not new, (Krishna) has spent five years at Tampines as their vice-chairman. But, in the 21 years of the S.League, I've seen several new management (teams)… even Geylang have a new management team, but they're doing okay.

"Some clubs' budgets work and others don't work - you've got to be fair (to the FAS)," said Zainudin.

"We've got experience trying to help clubs in the past… and we are trying to solve this problem."


This article was first published on April 25, 2016.
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