FAS president Lim Kia Tong dies aged 70
Football Association of Singapore (FAS) president Lim Kia Tong died on Wednesday (Sept 14). He was 70.
He is survived by his wife, and two children - a 31-year-old daughter and 30-year-old son - who read law like him.
Lim, who was a lawyer with more than 40 years of practice and headed the criminal department at Hin Tat Augustine and Partners, was the FAS' first elected president when his Team LKT beat Bill Ng's Team Game Changers in 2017.
The governing body described Lim as "a dedicated servant of the sport he loved" and said it will set up a tribute space in the lobby of its office at the Jalan Besar Stadium for those who would like to pay their respects from Thursday.
After he became FAS president, he took it upon himself to oversee the National Football League (now known as Singapore Football League), and helped bring on board a sponsor in Ajinomoto (S), organise insurance coverage, and improve scheduling and securing proper match venues for the amateur competition in 2017.
In world football, Lim was a highly respected figure for his role as deputy chairman of the Fifa disciplinary committee (DC), and as chairman of the Asian Football Confederation DC.
His rise in football would begin in 1999, when he was appointed an FAS council member and, by 2007, he was the vice-president of the FAS.
By his admission, Lim remained a relatively low-profile figure until the 2014 World Cup - he was part of the DC that dished out a four-month ban and a fine of 100,000 Swiss francs (S$146,000) to Uruguay striker Luis Suarez for biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini in that tournament.
Former Fifa referee Thiru Rajamanickam was handed a lifetime ban from all football activities and was deregistered from the FAS referees' list in 1994 after he was sentenced to eight months' jail and fined $1,000 for accepting $1,000 as a bribe from a bookmaker.
The ban was lifted by FAS under Lim in March. The 71-year-old said: "My family and I are thankful for his efforts to get my ban overturned after 28 years. It takes a man of courage to do that and I understand he also put in a lot of effort to research my case. I will continue to try to contribute to local football to repay what Kia Tong has done for me."