SINGAPORE – The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) has released written proof showing that former FAS president Zainudin Nordin had indeed approached Hougang United chairman Bill Ng to donate money to support the Asean Football Federation’s (AFF) Football Management System, and that Ng had agreed to cough up S$500,000 to do so via Tiong Bahru FC (TBFC), an NFL club which he heads.
In a media release on Tuesday (April 18), FAS general secretary Winston Lee produced a letter between Ng and Zainudin which showed that the former had agreed to donate to the AFF.
In addition, Lee also released payment vouchers signed by Ng which stipulated that the various cheques Tiong Bahru had given to the FAS were meant for the AFF.
Said Lee: “Bill Ng’s statements are all patently false. The following facts, and the supporting documents, will make that clear. On Oct 9, 2014, Bill Ng wrote to Zainudin Nordin to thank the latter for 'sharing' AFF’s Football Management System with him.
“Bill Ng went on to say that 'we (TBFC) will contribute S$500,000 to ASEAN Football Federation through FAS to develop this Football Management System'.”
“It is clear that Bill Ng and Zainudin Nordin discussed the AFF Football Management System sometime prior to Oct 9, 2014, when this letter was sent.
“Pursuant to this discussion, Bill Ng agreed to make a donation of $500,000 to AFF, through FAS. Without a doubt, from his very own letter, Bill Ng knew that the donation was being made to AFF, and it was he who settled on donating S$500,000 to this cause.
“Following this, between Dec 2014 and Sept 2015, five cheques were drawn up by TBFC. These were made payable to FAS. However, each and every cheque was also accompanied by a payment voucher which makes clear TBFC’s instruction that the cheque was 'being payment for sponsorship of AFF Football Management Systems'.
“Again, Bill Ng was well aware because he signed the cheques and also some of the payment vouchers. The amounts, totalling S$500,000, were accordingly sent on to AFF by FAS.”
Lee also produced copies of five cheques from Ng of various amounts totalling S$500,000, and payment vouchers from Tiong Bahru FC stating that the payments are for sponsorship of AFF Football Management System.”
The documents have contradicted Ng’s stance that it was Lee, and not Zainudin, who had approached the 57-year-old businessman directly about donating to the AFF.
Team Game Changers, which Ng is heading for the upcoming FAS elections on April 29, had sent out a media release on Monday (April 17) that said: “Tiong Bahru FC had, from December 2014 onwards and at the request of Winston Lee to Bill Ng made in person, given donations totaling S$500,000 to the FAS by way of various cheque payments.
“When Bill Ng agreed to Winston’s request for a donation, it was strictly on the basis that the money was to be used to benefit Singapore football, especially our local clubs.”
The release went on to add that “the former president Mr Zainudin Nordin did not approach Mr Bill Ng over the AFF FMS at any time.”
TODAY have reached out to Team Game Changers and Zainudin, who was recently appointed vice-principal of the ITE College East, for their responses to FAS’ latest revelations.
The controversial S$500,000 donation has, over the past few days, become the main talking point of the FAS elections.
Ironically, it was Ng who had set the ball rolling when he announced at Team Game Changers’ glitzy press conference at the Fullerton Bay Hotel on April 13 that he had donated a total of S$850,000 to the FAS over the years. However, when asked for more details about it, Ng said that the media should direct its queries to Lee.
But Lee said in his statement: "The above makes it clear that Bill Ng was not only intimately aware that the donation was going to AFF, but it was he who decided the purpose and the amount. He also gave the express instruction that the full amount was to go to AFF, and not to local football, as he claims.
"Accordingly, his statements that he was not aware, or that he thought the donation was strictly to benefit Singapore football are false."
As such, Lee has called upon Ng to apologise for his statements. "Regretably, I believe Bill Ng's statement was intended to insinuate financial impropriety within FAS and to damage the credibility of FAS and myself.
"Given these clear facts which show otherwise, I call upon Bill Ng to wholly and unconditionally apologise for his statements."
Lee also explained why the matter was never brought to the attention of the rest of the FAS Council, confirming former FAS vice-president Lim Kia Tong's assertion that "the transaction was never raised in any FAS Council meetings."
"When Zainudin first briefed me about this donation, I saw nothing untoward about the arrangement," said Lee.
"It was Bill Ng's prerogative to donate his club's money as he wishes (assuming there is proper disclosure and approval by his club) and FAS Council approval was not needed, and not sought because this is a donation which Bill Ng made to AFF, not FAS.
"I am also puzzled by why Bill Ng would go to great lengths to insist that Zainudin had no role to play in this donation. Again, this is clearly false and Bill Ng must come clean as to why he chose to hide Zainudin's role in the transaction."
Ironically, the FAS’ revelations comes on a day when the association’s Electoral Committee formally approved all remaining 32 candidates for the elections. The Electoral Committee has to release the official list of approved candidates for the elections 10 days before the April 29 elections. That would be Wednesday (April 19).
However, it now remains to be seen if all these revelations would have an impact on the historic polls which were ordered by world governing body FIFA to break a long-time practice of FAS leaders being officially appointed by the Government.
Both Ng’s Game Changers and Team LKT’s nine-member slates, along with 14 individual candidates, were cleared for the polls.
Game Changers and LKT, which is led by former FAS vice-president Lim Kia Tong, will go head-to-head for the key positions in the FAS council which include the president, deputy president, four vice-presidents and three council members.
The elections, the first-ever in the history of the FAS, will take place at the Sport Singapore (Black Box) Auditorium at the Singapore Sports Hub.