Young boys involved in the Football Association of Singapore’s (FAS) Centre of Excellence (COE) program should be playing football every week. While the last weekend was the same, some interesting scenes were played out at the St Wilfrid Sports Complex with one player from Tampines Rovers’ under-14 squad running on the touchline as a linesman for their league game, instead of on the pitch as a player.
That arrangement came about because the main referee failed to make it to the SAFFC vs Tampines Under-14 league fixture in time. Five minutes after the match was scheduled to kick off, the two linesmen assigned for the tie discussed and decided that one player from each team will assume the role of linesman – one in each half, as the match referee could not be contacted.
It is understood that SAFFC coach Darus Salleh wasn’t informed of the arrangement prior to the start of the match.
The match was abandoned at half time after the junior Warriors raced to a two goal lead due to inclement weather, and even then, the absent match referee still had not appeared.
This is not the first time that referees have been mired in controversy. Earlier this year, T Aravinthan was suspended after turning up late at a National Football League Division 1 match. It was first reported that Aravinthan was reeking of alcohol, and barred from entering the venue when he turned up at the match.
The public has already come out in criticism of a Professional League in Singapore they feel is already in dire straits, and have provided suggestions to fix it, but the root of the problem may well be the inefficiency of the FAS.
There is little point in an organisation calling itself a professional entity when situations arising in the local football scene show otherwise.
When queries were raised regarding these situations, answers, seemingly from a standard template were often given, with displeasure – at queries even being raised – radiating from its Jalan Besar headquarters.
It is disappointing to learn that the football governing body in Singapore has consistently failed to prevent such incidents from happening. The latest saga is a clear illustration that it is sadly, still amateur.