EXCLUSIVE: FIFA contacts FAS to revise constitution

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A staff walks past a logo of soccer's international governing body FIFA at their headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, May 27, 2015. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich

Michael Y.P. Ang is a Singaporean freelance journalist and an ex-sports officer at the former Singapore Sports Council. In 1999, he was among the core group of journalists who helped launch Channel NewsAsia, where he covered sport for several years. Follow his Facebook page Michael Ang Sports for his views on sport in Singapore.

FIFA has contacted the Football Association of Singapore to align its statutes with FIFA standards. This contradicts a report published on Thursday ("FAS passes FIFA test") in The New Paper where FAS said it had not contravened FIFA’s rules on government intervention in football-related issues.

In an email to Yahoo after The New Paper report was published, FIFA has confirmed that a revision of the FAS Constitution will be undertaken to make the procedure of selecting FAS office bearers comply with the FIFA Statutes.

Under the current FAS Constitution, which was approved by FAS Members at the association's annual general meeting in March 2011, it states, ”All Council Members shall be appointed by the Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports in his discretion and shall, unless otherwise decided by the Minister, hold office for a period of two years".

That responsibility now falls on the shoulders of the current Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, Lawrence Wong.

However, FIFA prohibits third-party influence in a country's national football association. Indonesia's football association is currently banned from international competitions after the Indonesian government attempted to suspend the country's football association. There is no time limit on the FIFA sanction.

FAS has said it believes it has not contravened the FIFA Statutes because its office bearers appointed by the Minister must "be confirmed by an absolute majority at the (FAS) Annual General Meeting" (Article 19.4 of the FAS Constitution).

The FAS remarks contradict what FIFA has told Yahoo, which on Wednesday (15 July) broke the story about FAS being scrutinised by FIFA. Article 19.4 is deemed insufficient to comply with FIFA's "no third-party influence" rule.

In its latest email to Yahoo, FIFA said, "We can confirm that by correspondence dated 13 July 2015, FIFA contacted FAS informing them that FIFA and AFC (Asian Football Confederation) will undertake a statutes revision process to align the FAS Statutes with the FIFA Standard Statutes."

A FIFA spokesperson added, "Once this process is complete, new elections will be held for FAS office bearers under the revised FAS Statutes."

Given that the FAS Council's current term of office ends on 30 September, FIFA-sanctioned elections at the FAS may be called sometime before October.