Who can vote in FAS election?
Among 40 constitutional changes, Team Venga propose some clubs should be disallowed from voting
They have proposed a total of 40 changes to the constitution that the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) is looking to pass at Saturday's Annual General Meeting (AGM).
The changes are aimed at "ensuring fairness" in the upcoming FAS election, protecting the "rights of the members of FAS" and advancing the interests of Singapore football.
But, among the changes mooted by R Vengadasalam and the team he is putting together to run in the election when it comes around, is one that will disallow any club not participating in competitions this year from voting in the election.
A total of 10 of the 46 members with voting rights are currently not participating in competitions, including former S.League sides Gombak United and Tanjong Pagar United, as well as former National Football League (NFL) side, the Singapore Recreation Club.
Under current constitutional rules (2012), all clubs are allowed to vote.
FAS has alignment with Fifa statues, proposing a change reflected in article 24.2, which states that ordinary members that "do not participate in (FAS) leagues in the year of the Congress shall be suspended from voting at the Congress". But it has included a transitional provision to suspend that rule for the first ever election that it will hold, to allow all members to be involved in selecting its leaders.
Team Venga insist that non-participating members should not be allowed to vote.
"It's a legal blip as to who can actually have the right to vote, as this is the first time (FAS will hold an election)," said lawyer Alfred Dodwell, the first named member of the team that Venga will manage at the election.
"That's what makes this even more important, to establish proper constitutional changes for the good of Singapore football.
"We will be pushing that voting rights will only be for parties that have been active in participation."
FAS vice-president Lim Kia Tong had earlier told The New Paper that one of the changes mooted by Fifa was to balance the weightage of votes to ensure that each faction has an equal say.
This would mean that each group - S.League (nine members), NFL (10), Island Wide League (14) and others (13) - will have 10 votes each, no matter how many members they have.
This would have seen each S.League vote have a 1.11 weightage, while an each IWL vote equate to only 0.71.
But the FAS rejected this proposal in preference for one vote per member.
With current constitutional rules seeing every club being allowed to vote at Saturday's AGM, it remains to be seen if the Team Venga's changes will garner support. But, if 24 of the 46 FAS members vote for those amendments, it will force the FAS to go back to the drawing board, and delay the calling for election.
FAS vice-president Lim, who is leading the team reviewing the constitution, told TNP last week: "We will have to redraft that article in the constitution, and get Fifa approval again. And I can't tell how much time that will take."
Dodwell does not see a need for a return to Fifa.
"I'm not sure we need to submit to Fifa this time. They wanted to eradicate the issue of third-party interference in the constitution, and these changes won't affect any of that.
"I'm not sure if they will be concerned with the nitty gritty details," he said, adding that his issue was one of proper democratic process.
"Who decided the constitutional amendments? The members were not consulted, and this is the problem with the FAS - a few men deciding the fate of football without consultation."
An FAS spokesman told TNP that the association is "looking into" the changes proposed, but TNP understands that with little time to react, the FAS will likely put the decision to a vote on Saturday.
Yesterday, Team Venga named a former deputy director at the People's Association, James Lim, as its second candidate.
These changes are making sure that not one man: the president, nor a few men: the council, make all the decisions. We want to make sure there’s some balance and fairness, with the interest of football at heart.
— Alfred Dodwell, Team Venga’s first named candidate