FAS’s contradictory daily statements?

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I refer to the article “Asean Football Federation says S$500k donation was from FAS” (Today, Apr 18).

It states that “In a fresh twist to the ongoing saga and public spat surrounding Bill Ng’s S$500,000 donation, the Asean Football Federation (AFF) has now come out to state that it had indeed received a donation of that amount from the Football Asssociation of Singapore (FAS) on Nov 4, 2015.

The statement, however, seems to contradict various statements made by the FAS last week over who had actually made the S$500,000 donation to the AFF.

The FAS had previously said that it was former FAS president Zainudin Nordin, who had approached Ng with a proposal to support the AFF’s FMS, and that Ng had decided to donate S$500,000 directly to AFF through Tiong Bahru, an amateur football club that he owns.

The FAS had also said: “It is clear that the amount of $500,000 was never meant to be donated to the FAS or any Singapore footballing activity…

“This was not a case of FAS accepting a donation and thereafter channeling the amount to AFF instead of using it for local football.”

In one of its statements, the FAS also provided a quote which it said was from the AFF. It told TODAY that the quote was to be attributed to “an AFF spokesman”.

The quote said: “We are thankful to our donors and partners who have come onboard to support this new programme, including one of the FA Singapore NFL clubs who donated S$500,000 towards the system.”

It said that Ng had always been under the impression that the S$500,000 donation would be used to benefit local football, and that he was unaware that the money was going to the AFF. It added that the various cheques, amounting to S$500,000, were made out to the FAS, and not the AFF.

Team Game Changers also pinpointed FAS general secretary Winston Lee as the person who had approached Ng directly about the donation.

It also added that it was “very unusual” that Tiong Bahru had “never received” any form of acknowledgement or receipt for the donation from the AFF or FAS, nor any account of how the funds were used.

TODAY has reached out to the FAS for comments on the AFF’s latest statement.

Meanwhile, Zainudin, who stepped down as FAS president last November, has been declining to reply to media queries ever since the saga began.

The former Member of Parliament who is now the deputy principal of ITE College East, would only say via text message to TODAY on Monday: “I have stepped down and have no comment to make. Please refer questions to FAS.”

The latter said via an FAS statement that S$200,000 went to the LionsXII, while S$500,000 was used to support the AFF’s FMS.

The FAS then said that it “only served to facilitate the donation”, and that it had “at no time” donated to the AFF.

It also said that it was former president Zainudin Nordin who had approached Ng with a proposal to support the AFF’s FMS, and that Ng had decided to donate S$500,000 directly to AFF through Tiong Bahru.

However, Game Changers said: “We categorically state that all such donations were made by Tiong Bahru FC to FAS at the request of Lee.

“The former President Mr Zainudin Nordin did not approach Mr Bill Ng over the AFF FMS at any time.”

What is perhaps arguably clear, so far, may be that the FAS’s several statements since last Friday (four days ago) – may appear to be somewhat contradictory.

I have tried to list a chronology of the FAS’s statements to the media and media reports (only the first statement is on its web site) below.

14 April – “In 2014, FAS spoke to Mr Ng on the subject of supporting the ASEAN Football Federation’s (AFF) Football Management System. Mr Ng supported the project with a donation of $500,000 to AFF through FAS. He had full knowledge of what the donation was for, and that none of it came to the FAS. To reiterate, Mr Ng knew that the money was not being donated to FAS or any Singapore footballing activity, and to claim it was given to FAS is not factual.

Comment: “$500,000 to AFF through FAS”

16 April – The FAS had previously said that it was former FAS president Zainudin Nordin, who had approached Ng with a proposal to support the AFF’s FMS, and that Ng had decided to donate S$500,000 directly to AFF through Tiong Bahru, an amateur football club that he owns.

The FAS had also said: “It is clear that the amount of $500,000 was never meant to be donated to the FAS or any Singapore footballing activity…

“This was not a case of FAS accepting a donation and thereafter channeling the amount to AFF instead of using it for local football.”

In one of its statements, the FAS also provided a quote which it said was from the AFF. It told TODAY that the quote was to be attributed to “an AFF spokesman”.

The quote said: “We are thankful to our donors and partners who have come onboard to support this new programme, including one of the FA Singapore NFL clubs who donated S$500,000 towards the system.”

Comment: “Ng had decided to donate S$500,000 directly to AFF through Tiong Bahru”

“An AFF spokesman – one of the FA Singapore NFL clubs who donated S$500,000 towards the system.”

17 April – The FAS then said that it “only served to facilitate the donation”, and that it had “at no time” donated to the AFF.

It also said that it was former president Zainudin Nordin who had approached Ng with a proposal to support the AFF’s FMS, and that Ng had decided to donate S$500,000 directly to AFF through Tiong Bahru.

Comment: “it (FAS) “only served to facilitate the donation”, and that it had “at no time” donated to the AFF”

“Ng had decided to donate S$500,000 directly to AFF through Tiong Bahru”

18 April – Meanwhile, Zainudin, who stepped down as FAS president last November, has been declining to reply to media queries ever since the saga began.

The former Member of Parliament who is now the deputy principal of ITE College East, would only say via text message to TODAY on Monday: “I have stepped down and have no comment to make. Please refer questions to FAS.”

Comment: “no comment”?

So, to summarise:

On 14 April – FAS said that the donation was “to AFF through FAS”, but on 16 April – “donate S$500,000 directly to AFF”, then on 17 April – “it (FAS) “only served to facilitate the donation””?

Leong Sze Hian

 

About the Author

Leong
Leong Sze Hian has served as president of 4 professional bodies, honorary consul of 2 countries, an alumnus of Harvard University, authored 4 books, quoted over 1500 times in the media , has been a radio talkshow host, a newspaper daily columnist, Wharton Fellow, SEACeM Fellow, columnist for theonlinecitizen and Malaysiakini, executive producer of Ilo Ilo (40 international awards), invited to speak more than 200 times in over 30 countries, CIFA advisory board member, founding advisor to the Financial Planning Associations of Indonesia and Brunei. He has 3 Masters, 2 Bachelors degrees and 13 professional  qualifications.