'Abuse me face to face': FAS head challenges angry fan after 7-0 SEA Games defeat
Fresh after Singapore's humiliating 7-0 defeat by Malaysia at the SEA Games football tournament on Thursday (May 11), it was no surprise that fans took to all avenues of social media to voice their anger at the country’s footballing body.
One of them even went straight to interim Football Association of Singapore (FAS) president Bernard Tan's Instagram page to voice his disapproval, calling for Tan to step down from his post.
“If you have any concern for the national team, then resign now! You are not worthy of the paycheck!" user Nic_8276 wrote.
Tan, who has helmed FAS since last September following sitting president Lim Kia Tong's death that month, replied to the post, first clarifying that "he doesn't get paid" for his role at the footballing body.
Then rather surprisingly, he issued Nic_8276 a "one time offer": "Instead of abusing me here, abuse me face-to-face. Let's meet" he said, while leaving his e-mail address.
"I will leave your comment for 24 hours. After which I will delete you. It's my wall."
In response, Nic_8276 said that Tan "can't just leave Singapore football fans in the dark".
"If things keep going like this, the game we love will die," he added.
Tan has since deleted his interaction with the angry netizen. He had also made his Instagram account private while leaving a "sorry" on his bio.
Several netizens were taken aback by Tan’s response to the fan.
“Literally challenging someone to meet face-to-face like that is a really, really bad idea on the part of Bernard. It would have been far better for him to simply walk away," said one commenter on Reddit.
“Did the head of a national sports association just challenge a fan to a confrontation?” asked another on Facebook.
Others, though, think Tan might have simply been extending an opportunity to hear fans out.
"This is good, he offered to meet and talk," one fan said. "Meet the big brass and share your solution, if you think you can do better."
In a Facebook post seen by AsiaOne, Tan seemed to explain his interaction with the fan: "The events of last night led to emotions running high with some abuse on my social media from unfamiliar accounts. I regret responding and I apologise deeply. I am sorry."
Tan added: "Tough questions will be asked over the next two weeks, and we will do this openly."
Singapore's loss to Malaysia meant that the Republic finished their 2023 SEA Games football campaign without a single victory – a first since 1987.