Former national striker K Kannan reminded of lifetime ban after involvement in 'football management and football activities': FAS
SINGAPORE: Former Singapore striker K Kannan was sent a reminder of his lifetime ban from the sport because he was found to be "involved in football management and football activities" at the Indian Association Singapore, said the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) on Thursday (Aug 19).
In response to queries from CNA, FAS said that this followed a complaint and was in a "clear violation" of the ban from all football activities that was imposed on Mr Kannan. The reminder was sent to Mr Kannan on Aug 12 last year, said FAS.
The governing body's statement came in response to a Facebook post by former journalist and opposition party member Jose Raymond, which FAS said had given the public an "incorrect impression" of its actions.
Mr Raymond wrote in his post on Tuesday that he had been told by a close friend that Mr Kannan had received a letter from the FAS after he "was spotted playing social football with his friends, reminding him that he was not to partake in any football related activities either directly or indirectly".
Mr Raymond noted that he had then introduced Mr Kannan to a legal team from law firm Eugene Thuraisingam LLP and that an appeal to lift the life ban had been submitted.
"The writer (Mr Raymond) had chosen to attach an image of only the last two paragraphs of the FAS letter dated 12th August 2020 addressed to K Kannan," said FAS.
"The writer had expressed that it 'was preposterous, as an individual should be allowed to play football with his friends'."
AN 'INCORRECT IMPRESSION'
FAS noted that the statement had given the "incorrect impression" to the public that it had sent the letter to K Kannan because he was found to be playing social football.
"Such an incorrect statement has led to unfair negative reactions against the FAS from the public," added FAS.
It noted that paragraphs 2 and 3 of the letter - which stated the reasons for its necessity - had been left out by Mr Raymond.
"The FAS had responded to said complaint that K Kannan was involved in promoting football, in the running of football activities and in the organisation of various tournaments at the Indian Association Singapore. He was also alleged to have been involved as a referee during these tournaments," explained FAS.
In 1995, Mr Kannan was convicted of a conspiracy and bribery charge after conspiring with two other men to offer a bribe to then-national goalkeeper David Lee to concede a goal in a Malaysia Cup match. Lee was not approached.
For his offences, Mr Kannan was jailed for no less than 14 months and was released in 1997, said his lawyers. He was also handed the lifetime ban after his conviction.
Prior to his latest appeal, Mr Kannan had submitted a total of three appeals to the FAS, said the association. He had also submitted an appeal to the Asian Football Confederation.
"Each time, his appeal had been carefully considered by the presiding FAS Council of the time and was duly rejected. K Kannan had also appealed to the Asian Football Confederation to have his ban lifted in May 2000. That was also rejected," said FAS.
"Hence, he is not unfamiliar with the ban imposed on him. Thus, when the complaint was received, it was incumbent on the FAS Council at that time to write to K Kannan to inform and to remind him of the ban on football related activities imposed on him."
His latest appeal was submitted last week, confirmed FAS and the matter is currently undergoing the "due process".
"As such, except for the clarification mentioned above, it would be inappropriate for the FAS to make any further comment on this matter until an official decision has been made by the current FAS Council upon the completion of the due legal process," said FAS.
In response, Mr Raymond referred CNA to paragraph 20 of the appeal letter sent by Mr Kannan's legal team to FAS.
In the document, it was acknowledged that Mr Kannan had in "recent years" assisted the football convener of the Indian Association in organising football activities for members and youth. He had also played football socially on the Indian Association's grounds.
"We understand that there is some contention as to whether his involvement with the IA (Indian Association) contravened the permenant (sic) suspension. For completeness, we take the view that his involvement with the IA does not contravene the permanent suspension," said the appeal.
"The draftsmen of Article 75.8 of the FAS Constitution have clearly confined the permanent suspension to be limited to only 'football management, membership, or the activities of the FAS.' We understand that IA is not an affiliate member of the FAS. Accordingly, we take the view that the permanent suspension does not bar our client from playing and assisting in football related events in IA."
Mr Raymond noted that the FAS has "no right" to stop Mr Kannan from taking part in the club's activities.
"In essence, the IA is a private social club and is NOT an affiliate of the FAS," he told CNA.
"Hence, they have no right to stop Kannan from taking part in the club’s activities, be it playing a social football match or even organising anything there. The IA is not an affiliate of the FAS."