FAS orders Warriors FC to remove general manager Paul Poh after 'serious' administrative lapses

FILE PHOTO: Yahoo News Singapore

SINGAPORE — The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) has instructed Singapore Premier League (SPL) club Warriors FC to remove general manager and honorary secretary Paul Poh with immediate effect.

In a media release on Friday (30 August), FAS said that it has taken such action after discovering “serious and repeated” lapses which Warriors FC have failed to rectify.

This is the first time that FAS has issued such a directive to a professional football club in Singapore, since the SPL was formed in 1996.

Inability to pay staff, players

Since January this year, Warriors FC have been unable to pay staff and players’ monthly CPF contributions. This has led to an investigation by the Ministry of Manpower, and two subsequent bans on hiring foreign footballers.

When FAS found out about their failure to do so, it decided to withhold the subsidies it granted to Warriors, and instead make the CPF payments directly to the staff and players. Since June, it has also undertaken the payment of salaries of the club’s Centre of Excellence staff.

“It has now come to FAS’s attention that there are serious discrepancies in the claims which had been made by Warriors FC for subsidies for fitness coaches’ salaries,” FAS said in the media release.

“This gives rise to concerns over whether claims made by Warriors FC can be properly verified in the first place. This is compounded by the fact that Warriors FC have repeatedly failed to submit its Monthly Management Accounts to FAS.

“To date, Warriors FC have not submitted any monthly management accounts since April 2019. They have also failed to submit their 2018 Audited Financial Statements/Report.”

After carrying out preliminary investigations, FAS said that it is of the view that Poh should vacate his positions with immediate effect.

Interim assistance in management

While Warriors FC search for a permanent replacement for their general manager position, FAS will assist them in managing their administration until the end of the current SPL season. This could include seconding an FAS staff.

It will also help the club with their field bookings so that their players can continue to train for upcoming SPL matches.

Warriors FC, formerly known as Singapore Armed Forces FC (SAFFC), won a total of nine S-League titles, with the final championship coming in 2014.

Created from the Singapore Armed Forces Sports Association, they came under the direct purview of the Ministry of Defence until 2017.

Singapore Cup draw

Currently seventh in the nine-team SPL, Warriors FC are also one of the eight participants in the 2019 Singapore Cup, which held its opening-round draw on Friday at Jalan Besar Stadium.

They were drawn into Group A with Home United, Tampines Rovers and Balestier Khalsa. The teams drawn into Group B are Geylang International, Hougang United, Albirex Niigata and Brunei DPMM.

This year’s tournament will have a new sponsor in Komoco Motors, which signed a one-year deal with FAS on Friday. The Singapore Cup logo also had a revamp to signify its position as Singapore’s top Cup competition.

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