Football Association of Singapore (FAS) general secretary Winston Lee will resign at the end of December, the FAS announced on Friday (1 December). Lee, 52, has worked 18 years at the FAS and served in his current role for over a decade.
Yazeen Buhari, FAS deputy general secretary, will be acting general secretary in the meantime. FAS said it will search for a permanent replacement after Lee leaves, said FAS. In a statement released by the FAS, Lee said that he decided earlier in the year to leave the FAS.
“Following the conclusion of the season and also in view of the fact that the (FAS) Council has finalised a good set of plans which will bring football to the next level, I decided it is timely to spend more time with my ageing mother and start the next chapter of my life,” Lee added.
Lee joined the FAS in 1999 as the S-League’s marketing executive and rose through the ranks. During his time with Singapore’s football governing body, Lee was also S-League CEO before becoming the FAS general secretary in 2008. He also became vice-president of Asian Football Confederation.
In recent years, however, there have been calls for Lee to step down over falling standards of local football. Under his watch, the Singapore national team has tumbled in the FIFA rankings since their 2012 AFF Suzuki Cup triumph while the S-League has seen dwindling attendances in the past few years.
In April this year, Lee was embroiled in a probe conducted by the Commercial Affairs Department prior to the FAS elections, which was won by the team led by FAS President Lim Kia Tong.
At the center of the probe were claims that a $500,000 donation from Hougang United chairman Bill Ng, who contested against Lim’s team in the elections, was unaccounted for. The saga led to CAD conducting raids at the offices of the FAS, Tiong Bahru Football Club, Hougang United Football Club and Woodlands Wellington Football Club on 20 April.
Lee was arrested and questioned by the CAD over the donation and other matters, according to media reports. Following the FAS elections, Lee had been expected to leave the FAS but Lim asked him to stay on.
Lim thanked Lee in the statement for his “unwavering commitment and accomplishments over the years”. Lee said he will continue to contribute to local football “in any way possible”, without elaborating.
The FAS also announced that it will be searching for a candidate for the Deputy General Secretary (Competitions) role.