Saturday, April 22, 2006

Taxpayer football

Crab Soccer - Too many hands?I didn't know that the SAFFC (Singapore Armed Forces Football Club) doesn't have a commercial sponsor! I learnt this in Today (18 April 2006 issue). According to that report, they haven't had a commercial sponsor for 11 years! As far as funding is concerned, they are taking from the taxpayers' till. Considering that other FC's do not have access to this till, but have to work very hard every year to get sponsors, it seems very unfair, and smells a bit fishy. The SAFFC says, in its defence, that the taxpayers' money are well spent since SAFFC has been in the forefront of promoting the sport, which, undoubtedly, has made strides since the S-league was first conceived more than 10 years ago. But doesn't this apply to other clubs as well? Haven't they made similar, if not greater, contributions? And anyway, what is the SAF doing promoting sports at the national level? Isn't this the preserve of the Ministry of Community, Youth and Sport?

I think that the SAFFC is presumptious in thinking that they are the ones who are playing the major role in the promotion and development of football in Singapore. The SAFFC can hardly do this without having an opposing team to play with. At $300,000 at year over 11 years, that's $300,000 x 11 years = $3.3 million - a large sum by any measure, and a sum that rivals numbers raised in the NKF saga.

I hope this doesn't snow-ball into an NKF-like saga. Apparently, this has been sanctioned by people in high places, but they must have a good explanation for this. While death and taxes are a certainty in life, the use to which tax money is put is less certain. Is there a smoking gun here? Time will tell.

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