FIFA approves new democratic FAS constitution
by Daniel Yap
THE Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) has approved changes to the Football Association of Singapore’s (FAS) constitution, opening the way for more dissenting voices at the table and increased minority representation.
The proposed constitution will see political appointments to FAS officially removed, and expands the committee to 15 members: Nine (President included) to run on a slate and another six to run independently. One of the non-executive seats will be reserved for a female candidate and another three experts can be co-opted to have non-voting seats on the committee.
The slate of nine candidates includes the President, Deputy President and four Vice Presidents, who must meet the qualifying criteria. The President must have played an active role in association football for two of the last five years, and the other five office holders must have played an active role in either association football or another sport. Other committee members must also have relevant experience in sports or football.
The proposed changes will be voted on just before the election is due, and a timeline proposed by the FAS means that a new committee could be installed by Dec 1 if all goes smoothly. There are currently 43 voting delegates in the FAS – one delegate and one vote each to S League clubs, National Football League (NFL) clubs, Islandwide League (IWL) clubs and other clubs and associations such as the referee’s association and women’s teams.
The current FAS committee comprises an appointed President, four Vice Presidents, 16 members, a treasurer, two advisors, a General Secretary, and the S League CEO. Their term ends on Sept 30.
Last year, the world governing body for football had taken issue with a clause mandating political appointment of FAS leadership. Clause 19.3 of the current FAS constitution which says that “all council members shall be appointed by the Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports” (the name of the ministry in charge of sports at the time).
The new constitution would pave the way for dissenting voices to have a place at the table, and for other marginalised groups, such as women’s football and futsal to get more representation. It also represents a stark departure from the G-controlled FAS that Singapore has had so far.
Current FAS vice-presidents Bernard Tan and Lim Kia Tong are expected to lead a slate as incumbents, and Mr R. Vengadasalam, the former team manager of now-defunct Woodlands Wellington, has also announced that he has a slate of candidates to put forward, although he has discounted himself from the running.
It is unclear if the latest constitutional changes will affect anyone’s electoral strategy, but it seems certain that fresh voices from outside the establishment will be part of the new FAS, should the amendments be passed.