SINGAPORE: The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) and Hougang United Chairman Bill Ng are engaged in a dispute regarding a S$850,000 donation Ng said he had donated to the governing body.
At a press conference for Team Game Changers (TGC) - one of two teams running for the upcoming FAS Council Election - Ng said he made the donation after FAS asked him for help with funds for now-defunct football club LionsXII.
The TGC president said at the conference on Thursday (Apr 13) that FAS asked if he could provide the amount as a donation rather than consider it sponsorship because this would require just a cheque whereas "a lot of contracts" would be needed for a sponsorship.
Asked if he knew what the donation was used for, Ng said that was "a great question" and that as he was not in the FAS, the "limited answer" he could give would be that it would be best to call FAS General Secretary Winston Lee. "I believe that none of the council (members) knew anything about this," he added.
In a statement on Friday responding to the businessman's comments, Lee said FAS would take action against "parties who wilfully accuse the association of improper fund management".
"(Ng) insinuated impropriety on the management of a sum of money he had donated to the FAS over a period of a few years. In particular, he invited the media to question FAS on what had happened to the money he had donated and claimed to have no knowledge of where the funds had gone after he donated it," he said in the statement. "This is a baseless and untrue accusation."
According to Lee, Ng introduced a company that donated S$200,000 to the LionsXII after the association approached sponsors and donors to support the football team as it was preparing to participate in the Malaysian Super League.
In 2014, Ng also donated S$500,000 to the ASEAN Football Federation through FAS after the association approached him to support the federation's management system, Lee said, adding: "(Ng) had full knowledge of what the donation was for and that none of it came to the FAS".
In addition, Lee said, Ng has supported the FAS through the Charity Golf Day and other events which raised about S$15,000.
"All donations and sponsorships from our partners are recorded and accounted for," Lee stated.
PROPOSALS TO CORPORATISE NFL, S LEAGUE
At Thursday night's press conference at the Fullerton Bay Hotel, TGC also revealed their plans for FAS - with Ng touting his team as the change "needed badly" in the management of the association.
The corporatisation of Singapore's professional and amateur leagues - the S League and National Football League respectively - was among the proposals the team raised.
TGC Deputy President Lau Kok Keng said the way the leagues are currently run was "not a sustainable model".
"It's not about pumping in more money or getting in sponsors to come in to do 'national service' whilst the stadiums are still empty and there are no eyeballs to watch their advertisements ... what we want to do is to introduce corporatisation where people with commercial interests can own the clubs."
Ng pledged to personally initiate an endowment for a cooperative fund for NFL clubs and players, as well as to source for investments and start a clubhouse to corporatise the NFL as a business.
TFC also said it aims to increase the number of teams in the S League from 12 to 14 in the longer term.
The FAS Council election will be held at Sport Singapore’s Black Box Auditorium on Apr 29, with a final list of election candidates to be revealed at least 10 days before.
The other team currently in the running, Team LKT led by long-time FAS council member Lim Kia Tong, unveiled its manifesto and plans two weeks ago.