FAS election 'not so soon'
Electoral code and funding for S.League still work in progress
May is the absolute deadline for the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) to hold its first democratic election for its leadership, but there are several in the fraternity predicting an earlier call for the election.
While some believe that the election would be announced soon after the Lions exited the AFF Suzuki Cup, FAS president Lim Kia Tong told The New Paper that FAS' 46 affiliates will have to wait for a little longer before they will be called to vote.
"The election will not take place so soon because the electoral code is not ready yet," said lawyer Lim, who was appointed as the president of the FAS' provisional council only last month.
"I was away for 22 days, so I haven't had time to discuss it or work on it."
He was on duty as head of Fifa's disciplinary committee at the Under-20 Women's World Cup in Papua New Guinea.
"We hope to get that done as soon as possible," said Lim when asked if a timeline has been set for the electoral code that spells out the rules of the electoral processes.
In addition to the electoral code, the top item on the agenda of Lim's FAS provisional council is the issue of funding for the 2017 S.League.
The S.League receives funding from the Tote Board, with its five-year funding cycle coming to an end after the 2016 season.
From this funding, S.League clubs receive some S$800,000 in annual subsidies which make up a large portion of their operating budgets of between $1.2 million and $1.5m.
There are only about three months to the estimated February kick-off to the 2017 season, but the funding quantum has yet to be finalised.
Several clubs have moved to sign players despite the uncertainty, with some having already commenced pre-season training.
"The S-League funding for next season is yet to be confirmed, but I hope it is similar to last season's figures. Otherwise, it would be problematic because every club are functioning now, based on historical funding numbers," said Lim.
"We will be following up on the issue of funding."
Beyond 2017, the future of the S.League remains hazy, with at least two options - from opposite ends of the spectrum - being considered.
The S.League could move towards privatisation or take a step backwards into the 1990s, when it adopted a semi-professional status.
"The future of the S.League is a complicated matter. It needs a more thorough study and we are setting up a panel to do that," said Lim, declining to reveal the make-up of the panel.
But he did clarify that this panel is distinctly different from the "critical review" of the league which was an internal discussion conducted by S.League chief executive Lim Chin and company.
Even with the launch of Lim's panel, he made clear that his provisional council will not be making decisions on the S.League, at least not in the lead-up to the FAS election.
"The provisional council is set up to make sure that everything goes on smoothly until the election," he said.
"Logically, we won't make any decisions that will have long-term effects."