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FAS issues apology after Story of the Year nomination gaffe

The Football Association of Singapore announced on Nov 21 that it has revoked two nominations for the Story of The Year category at the 2023 FAS Awards Night, and replaced it with two others.

That came just two days after it announced nominations for several awards to be handed out at its annual awards night at Orchard Hotel on Nov 23. 

FAS director of corporate communications Mustaffa Ehsan apologised for an “oversight that occurred during the compilation of submissions” for the Story of the Year category. 

He said: “There had been an error with the inclusion of a story that did not align with the original submission criteria. We acknowledge that all media outlets were explicitly instructed to submit stories related to the Singapore Premier League (SPL) exclusively, and each organisation was limited to one entry. 

“Unfortunately, due to a human mistake during the compilation process, an entry outside of the SPL scope was included and in addition, more than one submission from the same organisation was shortlisted for the final three.” 

In an e-mail sent out on Oct 16, the FAS called for nominations and stated that submitted stories must be of the SPL only and that each media outlet can submit only one story. 

The two nominations retracted were: Singapore Footballer Joins Borussia Dortmund Women’s Team, Puts Studies On Hold To Pursue Career, by Channel NewsAsia’s Aslam Iskhandar Shah and Fabian Koh; and I Feel Like A Kid Again: Izwan Mahbud Back And Ready To Rediscover Old Groove, by Lion City Sailors’ Kenneth Tan.

Tan’s other story, Yes, We Work Like Women – And It’s Been Wildly Effective, remains on the revised nominations list. It is now joined by Football: From Hugging The Touchline To Prowling It With A Flag, Ex-winger Oswind Suriya Gets His Second Wind by The Straits Times’ Deepanraj Ganesan; and World Cup Socceroo Bailey Wright Far From Done As He Embarks On New Voyage With Lion City Sailors, by Gabriel Tan from ESPN Singapore. 

Mustaffa said the two new additions were assessed and graded by a judging panel. He added: “I have personally reached out to the individuals from both CNA (Broadcast) and Lion City Sailors to explain and apologise for this unfortunate incident and they have accepted both the explanation and my apology.” 

In the e-mail which was sent to the media, he said he understands the importance of “upholding the integrity and transparency of such prestigious awards” and deeply regrets any confusion or inconvenience this oversight would have caused the respective media teams.

Mustaffa added that he has taken action to ensure such oversights do not occur in future events. He will also implement “enhanced quality-control measures during the submission compilation process to safeguard against similar mistakes”.