Wild accusations and legal threats emerge in lead-up to FAS elections

A rift has emerged in the run up to this month’s Football Association of Singapore (FAS) elections, with presidential hopeful Bill Ng making some stunning revelations about football in the Republic, drawing a swift rebuke and the threat of legal action from the FAS.

Current Hougang United chairman Ng and his team, which has adopted the name ‘Team Game Changers’, held a press conference at the Fullerton Bay Hotel on Thursday evening.

At the unveiling of his team’s manifesto, Ng used the opportunity to air some grievances over the management of Singapore football and hinted at the misappropriation of donated funds.

He invited the media to question FAS on what had happened to the money he donated and claimed to have no knowledge of where the funds had gone. This is a baseless and untrue accusation

- FAS general secretary Winston Lee

Among the revelations, he stated after he secured a $200,000 sponsorship for Hougang United in 2012, he was asked by the FAS to transfer the sponsorship to the LionsXII to defray their participation costs in the Malaysia Super League.

“There was a title sponsor who wanted to come in to support Hougang, but the FAS asked us if we could help them out financially as that was the period of the LionsXII and they needed a bigger budget to run the project,” he said.

“So we went back and spoke to our sponsors and they were fine with us using their funds to support the LionsXII in the form of a donation.”

In total, $850,000 has been donated to the FAS, according to Ng.

FAS presidential hopeful Bill Ng. Photo: Weixiang Lim

“We managed to accumulate quite a bit of profit for both clubs (Hougang United and Tiong Bahru FC) and we were told to donate about $850,000 to the FAS,” said Ng.

Ng, a businessman specialising in rescuing distressed companies, suggested he does not know how the $850,000 was used and that members of the media should pose questions to FAS general secretary Winston Lee about it.

He also said that back in 2008, after clearing the debts of the struggling Tiong Bahru FC, Ng approached FAS general secretary Winston Lee with the intention of bringing Tiong Bahru back to the S.League, but was told the club would remain in the NFL.

Plus he revealed former S.League chief executive Lim Chin was the main driver of the failed merger between Woodlands Wellington and Hougang United in 2014.

“In 2014, I met with the FAS and they told me that they intended to have Tanjong Pagar and Woodlands sit out of the S.League,” Ng stated.

“Since I knew the management at Woodlands, they proposed a merger (with Hougang) to form a super club, because the funding from the Tote Board would be decreased.

“This idea was mooted and initiated entirely by Lim Chin and the FAS.”

In response, the FAS issued a terse statement on behalf of the association’s general secretary Winston Lee, strongly refuting his claims, particularly the use of those donations.

"In the Team Game Changers' press conference on Thursday night, their presidential candidate Mr Bill Ng insinuated impropriety on the management of a sum of money he had donated to the FAS over a period of a few years,” read the statement, released to media just after midnight on Friday.

All donations and sponsorships from our partners are recorded and accounted for and we will take the necessary action against parties who wilfully accuse the Association of improper fund management

"In particular, he invited the media to question FAS on what had happened to the money he had donated and claimed to have no knowledge of where the funds had gone after he donated it. This is a baseless and untrue accusation.

"In 2012, FAS approached various sponsors and donors to support the LionsXII, which would commence its participation in the Malaysian Super League. The sponsors and donors who came on board included Mr Ng, who introduced a company that donated an amount of $200,000 to the LionsXII.

"In 2014, FAS spoke to Mr Ng on the subject of supporting the ASEAN Football Federation's (AFF) football management system. Mr Ng supported the project with a donation of $500,000 to AFF through FAS. He had full knowledge of what the donation was for, and that none of it came to the FAS. To reiterate, Mr Ng knew that the money was not being donated to FAS or any Singapore footballing activity, and to claim it was given to FAS is not factual.

"All donations and sponsorships from our partners are recorded and accounted for and we will take the necessary action against parties who willfully accuse the Association of improper fund management."

Bill Ng’s Team Game Changers are contesting the first ever FAS elections against ‘Team LKT’, led by interim FAS President Lim Kia Tong.

Forty-four FAS affiliates made up of nine S.League teams, 23 NFL (National Football League) clubs and 12 interest groups are eligible to vote.

The election will be held on April 29 at the Black Box Auditorium at the Singapore Sports Hub.