SINGAPORE: The Football Association of Singapore's (FAS) is making sweeping changes to its processes and procedures, a month after a new council was voted in. This comes in the wake of controversy in the run up to the FAS election over a S$500,000 donation by Tiong Bahru Football Club to the ASEAN Football Federation, made at the request of then-FAS president Zainudin Nordin.
A committee led by deputy president Bernard Tan on Thursday (Jun 1) announced a raft of proposed changes to the way the FAS is governed.
Firstly, all FAS staff, including players and volunteers, will now be subjected to a stricter code of conduct. This includes declaring their association with third parties or businesses that is tantamount to a conflict of interest. Staff are also required to decline offers of gifts and benefits where possible, or declare them.
Explaining the changes, FAS vice-president S Thavaneson told Channel NewsAsia: “Our enhanced declaration on conflicts of interest would include not just the council member, (but) would include members of his family - his spouse, his children - associated companies, friends who may have business dealings with the football association."
In addition, FAS executives who wish to be appointed to an external organisation such as FIFA must first seek permission from the president and the FAS executive committee.
FAS has also asked one of Singapore’s top four audit firms to assess its adherence to the code of governance for charities.
In bid to ensure that the power to make decisions do not rest on a single individual such as the president or the general secretary, the FAS executive committee will now approve payments and expenditure.
In addition, all donations to the FAS above S$50,000 will be reviewed and approved by the executive committee.
A set of obligations will also be developed to ensure that FAS members and affiliates practise good governance. For instance, clubs with gaming machines will be required to be socially responsible and must use the revenue to benefit Singapore football.
"You’ve got to learn to operate - (as a) football club - to operate within your means," added Mr Thavaneson. "So similarly with football clubs, we want to ensure that they do proper budgeting, proper costing. They are very sure of their funds coming in, not living on the hope that a sponsor comes in and then finding that halfway through the season, you’re having extreme difficulty in meeting your obligations to your players and your staff," he added.
The committee said it aims to complete its work in four to six months.