FAS rejects appeal over Island Wide League team fielding ineligible footballer
Local football club Simei United had their appeal against an opponent for fielding an eligible player rejected by the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) on Wednesday, a decision that Simei chairman Faisal Rashid called a “sporting injustice” .
On Aug 19, Simei United FC played in their Island Wide football league (IWL) group D match against Bedok South Avenue Sports Club (BSASC) and lost 3-1. The IWL is the fourth-tier league in Singapore after the Singapore Premier League and Singapore Football League (SFL) Division 1 and 2.
Simei did not think that anything was amiss then, but on Sept 5, a member of the public informed Faisal that BSASC had fielded an ineligible player and the former filed a protest with the FAS.
According to the 2023 IWL regulations, “a player who is registered with a Singapore Football League club for the 2023 Season shall not be allowed to be registered or transferred to an IWL club within the same season”.
The player in question was previously registered with Project Vault Oxley, an SFL 1 club, earlier in the year.
Faisal said: “When I submitted my protest and told them this whole situation, we brought facts and findings and they (FAS) agreed the player was registered with another club, but it was after 48 hours, so they said that it was invalid.”
The rules state that any club intending to lodge a protest against their opponents for any violation of the tournament procedure or match must do so within 48 hours from the end of the match.
FAS Competitions Committee chairman Razali Saad said: “Unfortunately, based on the existing regulations, the FAS Competitions Committee was unable to process the complaints and had no choice but to dismiss the protests.”
BSASC declined comment when contacted by The Straits Times.
Expressing his dismay over the decision, Faisal said: “We are extremely disappointed with the FAS Competitions Committee’s decision not to award us the walkover despite the truth and facts submitted and subsequently reject our appeal and deny our rightful slot in the quarterfinals.”
Simei finished in third place with three points in their group, while BSASC were second after notching six points. The top two teams of each group advance to the quarter finals of the IWL. BSASC will play Westwood El’Junior FC in the next round.
A similar incident occurred in 2019 when Simei fielded an ineligible player in their 4-1 win over Changi Village SRC (CVSRC). A protest was lodged after the 48-hour limit and Simei was subsequently penalised three points, with a walkover handed to CVSRC.
Clubs must obtain a Local Transfer Certificate and Letter of Authorisation (LOA) and submit them to the MyFAS portal for transfers and registration of players.
The match commissioner will check the LOA of the players in the selection list 15 minutes before the stipulated kickoff time to ensure that they are eligible to play.
Razali said: “While the committee recognises the limitations imposed by the competition registration system, these incidents have highlighted the need for the FAS to review the current IWL regulations, including on matters relating to appeal procedures.”
“I can accept a loss, but I don’t want to lose in a way where we lose unfairly, it is sporting injustice.” said Faisal. “If we won or drew against BSASC, we would still lodge the same complaint, this is a matter of fairness and sportsmanship.”