FAS names players who broke curfew at SEA Games, vows stiff sanctions

Zulqarnaen Suzliman (red jersey) was one of the six Singapore U-22 footballers who broke curfew during the SEA Games competition in Manila. (PHOTO: AP/Aaron Favila)

SINGAPORE — The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) has revealed the names of the six Singapore Under-22 national footballers who broke curfew during the SEA Games, and said that, unless there are compelling justifications, they can expect to face stiff sanctions.

In a media statement released on Friday (6 December), FAS confirmed that Tajeli Salamat, Joshua Pereira, Zulqarnaen Suzliman, Zharfan Rohaizad, Kenji Rusydi and Lionel Tan are the players who broke curfew at the Games in Manila.

It said that it is “extremely disappointed” with the footballers’ conduct, as their actions contravened the Code of Conduct that all national players are expected to abide by. As a result, the players will face a disciplinary hearing by the FAS Disciplinary Committee immediately upon their return to Singapore.

Fandi expresses utter disappointment with his charges

“I am utterly disappointed with the players and I have let them know as much,” said national U-22 coach Fandi Ahmad, who is in charge of the SEA Games squad.

“They are here (in Manila) not only as representatives of the FAS, but also Team Singapore, and should have known the value of the flag they are bearing. This was another unnecessary set-back for the team during what has turned out to be a difficult campaign for us.”

According to The Straits Times, the incident happened on Sunday night, after Singapore’s 0-3 defeat by Thailand. The players allegedly returned to their base at the Century Park Hotel in Manila in the wee hours.

A well-placed source in the sporting fraternity told Yahoo News Singapore that the players visited a casino when they broke the curfew.

They could have been expelled from the Games immediately as a result of breaching the team agreement.

The players have already received a “stern formal warning” from the Singapore National Olympic Council, the governing body for the Singapore contingent at major Games.

FAS president: Behaviour dented morale of team

FAS president Lim Kia Tong, who ironically is on duty at the SEA Games as the chairman of the disciplinary and ethic committee for the men’s and women’s football competition, expressed his “absolute disappointment” at the players’ misconduct.

“The curfews in place, besides ensuring the players’ safety and security, are to instil discipline and to ensure that the players are well rested and ready to carry out their mission for the country in football,” he said in the media statement.

“Breaking curfew hours is deplorable and totally against the very values which every footballer is expected to uphold as the ambassador of Singapore at competitions. Their acts were calculated and done with the blatant disregard of the Code of Conduct.

“At that stage of the competition when they should have been fully focused on bringing pride back to the game for Singapore, their behaviour affected and dented the capability and morale of the team, and they have let down the entire nation.

“Without any question, they will face the FAS disciplinary committee which will be convened without delay after their return.”

Singapore had finished fourth out of six teams in the opening group stage of the football competition, with one win, one draw and three losses. With only the top two teams advance to the semi-finals, the Young Lions are out of the tournament, and their wait for a first-ever SEA Games football gold goes on.

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6 Young Lions to be disciplined for breaking SEA Games curfew