Krishna calls for help, but denies Tampines are in financial strife

Tampines chairman Krishna Ramachandra has stated publicly that fans should not be worried, even though the club has requested the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) for financial assistance. 

Reports of Tampines Rovers encountering cash flow issues emerged this week but chairman Krishna Ramachandra has moved quickly to clarify the situation.

“(Fans) would be worried for sure if you don't necessarily understand what cash flow means,” Krishna told Red Card in a video interview.

“Cash flow is a problem which plagues all companies. Before revenue starts coming through you have got some obligations which need to be paid out and if a company does not have reserves that it can tap on then that becomes a cash flow issue

“So it does not necessarily means it’s a profit and loss issue, but it might be a cash flow issue.”

Krishna further added that he was not asking the FAS for subsidies above their entitlements, but to advance their subsidies to help the club through their problems.

“The club gets subsidies from the FAS throughout the years and by all accounts we have satisfied all the KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and we should be entitled to 100 per cent of the subsidies that they should be giving us,” he shared.

“The subsidies are there, but they are drip fed to us throughout the year. So to have it up front in a lump sum or at least in more sizeable portion makes it a lot easier for us to start other initiatives which would generate revenue, like our academy, for instance.

He added: “In every club's constitution, the FAS, the S.League have the ultimate say. They appoint the chairman, they appoint the management committee … so there's a huge level of authority that is asserted by the FAS and the S.League through the constitution that is imposed on all the clubs.

“This naturally means that they should be looking after the clubs when they encounter some issues. We are not talking about fraud … just talking about paying the players their salaries (and) hiring the coaches.”

Many had questioned how Tampines would cope with the signing of Jermaine Pennant, as well as a host of former LionsXII players. Even former Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier has been signed as the club’s international ambassador.

In addition, Tampines announced they would play their AFC Cup tie against Selangor at the National Stadium on May 10.

Tampines are set to play at the Sports Hub in May

Just a few months ago, MP & Silva decided against hosting the 2016 and 2017 edition of the Merlion Cup at that venue, after they failed to reach an agreement with the Sports Hub. It was reported that the cost of rental for both years was in the six-figure region.

But Krishna has refuted claims the Stags are overspending.

“The National Stadium is virtually free, Pennant costs $20,000 a month, not $50,000 to $60,000 as people reported,” he said.

“Gerard Houllier is free, he is happy to help out and give his council, so none of those supposedly expensive expenditure were really expensive or cost anything.”

The Tampines chairman ended his interview by urging the relevant stakeholders to now show their support for the club.

“(For the) first few months, I was getting (congratulations from) Lim Chin and Zai (Zainudin Nordin) and Winston (Lee). They were all saying, ‘Great, thanks, well done, this is what we needed for Singapore football’.

“So I am calling in my chips now, I am saying, thank you very much guys. Let's see what we can all now do for Singapore football because this great club Tampines Rovers need some help now.”

In response to queries from the media, FAS said they will provide assistance to Tampines according to the guidelines set by the organisation.

“We will work closely with clubs to help with any issues they might face, and this includes clubs who may face cash flow problems during the course of the season,” a media statement by FAS said.

“All clubs are treated equally on all matters - including policies and subsidies - based on our guidelines. We abide by a strict code of governance in all financial matters.”

Photo: Weixiang Lim / FFT