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All not well at Geylang International

Less than two weeks after the S.League season came to a close, FourFourTwo understands there has been a rift between some Geylang International players and the club’s management.

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Sources close to the matter have told FFT there is unhappiness with how management have handled club affairs, including salaries and proposed bonus payments.

A meeting was held on November 21 between management and the players to discuss their futures at the club beyond 2017.

Some players' unhappiness stems from management’s decision to give them two options on their contracts, which expire at the end of December.

The players met with Geylang chairman Ben Teng, general manager Andrew Ang, head coach Noor Ali and assistant coach Hirotaka Usui.

Some players' unhappiness stems from management’s decision to give them two options on their contracts, which expire at the end of December. 

The first option was for the players to be released two weeks early – and paid half a month less – which the club stated would give them more time to find a new club.

Yet considering next year's S.League season isn’t slated to start until the end of March, some believed this was an unnecessary move.

If the players did not take this offer up, they were to return to Geylang after their club-designated leave period from November 21 to December 11 to do social work in the form of community engagement activities.

It’s understood neither of these terms were made clear when the players originally signed their contracts.

Usually, at other clubs, they will honour the contract until the end of December. It was surprising to us that they even put these offers on the table

The players were then given just 15 minutes – the duration of the meting – to decide which offer to take.

“Usually, at other clubs, they will honour the contract until the end of December. It was surprising to us that they even put these offers on the table,” said one player, who didn’t want to be named.

Other S.League clubs usually opt to either resume training or give players the month of December off.

So far only the foreign players have taken up the offer of being released early, according to sources within the club, with the remainder choosing to see out their contracts.

While 12 players in Geylang’s 22-man squad signed two-year deals at the beginning of the 2016 season, FourFourTwo understands the majority of players were not offered longer-term contracts this time round.

Instead, Geylang are believed to be keeping a small number of players from this season’s squad, which finished fourth in the league – their best finish in the past decade. 

The players who haven’t been offered a contract for next season were informed the club isn’t financially capable of retaining them.

Media reports have previously described the Eagles as "generous paymasters"

The decision on which players the club would retain was then made by Geylang head coach Noor Ali.

“In the meeting they told us straight to our face that they had no budget to keep us anymore,” another player told FFT.

Media reports have previously described the Eagles as "generous paymasters" and noted that junior national team players were paid more than they could earn at other clubs.