Replies to Media ● Jan 06, 2018
FAS Media Statement on FAS Council Member Yakob Hashim’s comments about the Disciplinary Case involving Yishun Sentek Mariners FC and SAFSA
1. In the report of TODAY of 5th January 2018, it was reported, inter alia, that Yakob Hashim, a Football Association of Singapore (FAS) Council Member and an official from a National Football League (NFL) club, namely a coach of Yishun Sentek Mariners FC, took issue with how the FAS is handling its probe into a brawl during the match [ The Match ] on 12th November 2017 between his club and the Singapore Armed Forces Association [ SAFSA ].
2. It is well documented that The Match which was streamed live and watched by thousands descended into a mass brawl involving players and officials, with the police called in. The incident touches on grave indiscipline and clearly warranted a thorough investigation and for charges to be preferred against anyone who had committed any infringement of the law and regulations.
3. Like in all FIFA and AFC disciplinary proceedings, the burden of proving a case lies on the shoulders of the organisation concerned. Accordingly, the FAS, as a Member Association of FIFA and AFC, takes guidance from these organisations’ practices and in this free-for-all incident, the burden lies on the shoulder of the FAS to prove the various charge/s against any Defendant. In the normal circumstances, in all disciplinary proceeding before the FAS Disciplinary Committee, the burden, unless otherwise directed, lies on the shoulder of the full time staff of the FAS Competition Department who usually investigate and present evidence and make submission in the disciplinary hearings on behalf of the FAS. The real difficulty in the conduct of this investigation, the commencement and presentation of the evidence by the staff from the FAS Competition Department at the Disciplinary Committee’s hearing against potential Defendants connected with the club which Yakob Hashim is an official, is compounded by the fact that Yakob Hashim is a FAS Council member. In view of this, a conflict of interest situation has therefore arisen.
4. Accordingly, the President of FAS and his Executive Committee members decided that there is an undisputed need to appoint independent persons to carry out the duties in the stead of the full time staff. This is in keeping within the FAS’ new leadership’s strict regime of ensuring proper governance and to ensure full transparency and accountability. Any Defendant from SAFSA and all right minded members of the public and the football fraternity must not entertain or be given the chance to entertain the perception or otherwise, that FAS is according its Council member unjustified and unfair advantage in the disciplinary proceedings. Justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done.
5. In view of the circumstances and the severity of the incident, two very senior and experienced lawyers Mohamed Muzammil Bin Mohamed and Mohan Das Naidu were appointed to perform the roles of independent “prosecutors” on a pro bono basis. The appointment of these independent “prosecutors” is constitutional and within the powers of the Executive Committee.
6. The roles of this independent panel are to conduct investigations into the incident, to draft the charges, to present the evidence to prove the charges, and to make all necessary submission, including punishment, if required, on behalf of the FAS at the Disciplinary Committee’s hearing. They are not the “independent judges” as certain quarters may perceive them to be.
7. It is also pertinent to highlight that the Disciplinary Committee, which is the judicial body properly elected at the recent Congress on 16 November 2017 and headed by Bala Chandran, will hear the cases. The members of this judicial body are the independent judges and not Muzammil and Mohan Das Naidu as some may think they are.
8. The FAS and its Council is committed to being a transparent organisation. The independent “prosecutors” act totally on their own without any direction from the Executive Committee or the Council. Being officers of the Singapore Courts, they will execute their tasks to a high level of professionalism and without any fear or favour. FAS is confident that the independent “prosecutors” will assist the Disciplinary Committee in passing a fair judgment to all concerned including any Defendant from Yakob Hashim’s club.