The ASEAN Super League (ASL), a brainchild of FAS supremo Zainudin Nordin is all set for a September 2017 kick-off. The FIFA or the ASEAN countries have not given their approval for the project to go ahead, but that has not stopped the search for a chief executive of the ASL.
The TODAY Online reported that a recruitment advertisement on the website of executive search firm Sports Recruitment International (SRi), details a search for a full-time CEO to do the “planning stage to launch” and then ensure its “commercial, legal and financial viability”.
This publication in an article titled ‘Dead start for Asean Super League?’ said:
“James Lim, who plans to contest the upcoming FAS elections, warned that the FAS transition team, under Lim Kia Tong, should not make any commitment to Lions XII or any other Singapore based team to partake in the ASL.
“It should not be funded by FAS with money meant to develop local football. I understand that Singapore Pools would love to see ASL kick-off as it would be a new platform for more football match betting,” he wrote in a Facebook posting. “The ASL is a commercial venture and it is a risky proposition. FAS have no business using its funds to take a position in such a business venture.”
A leading S-League club chairman, who asked not to be named, said the “Lim Team” has absolutely no mandate to make any decision on Singapore’s participation in the ASL. He said: “Whoever is voted in to take over FAS can decide whether to proceed. Otherwise, it can be messy if a new team, other than the incumbent, takes over and decide not to pursue with ASL.”
Even in Thailand, Buriram United millionaire chairman Newin Chidchob gave the thumbs-down. He said: “Quite simply, I don’t support the idea of an Asean Super League and I don’t think it works from either a competitive or organisational perspective. The question has to be asked as to who will actually play in this proposed tournament?
“The business terms and the return on the investment are not good enough, I mean, they’re asking small clubs to pay US$5 million (S$6.7m), but how much can those clubs win in this proposed league?”
Likewise in Malaysia, the Chairman of Malaysian champions Johor Darul Takzim, Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, said he remains unconvinced by the concept of the ASL. “I don’t agree with the ASL,” said the Crown Prince of Johor. “I think we’re (South-east Asian football) still young and we (should) focus on how it is done in Europe. For now, the AFC Champions League is the highest target. The ASL is not really my cup of tea.””
Now a petition calling for signatories to disavow their support to ASL being funded by the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) has sprung up.
The petition started by Venga Renggayan four days ago said: “ASL (ASEAN SUPER LEAGUE) should not be funded by FAS with money meant to develop local football. Even if its private project we cannot let it affect our OWN League.” It has about 100 signatories to date.
It is unclear if the person who started the petition is R Vengadasalam, the former manager of Woodlands Wellington FC, who has stated his intentions to put together a team for the first-ever election for the FAS. FAS council members had previously been appointed by the Culture, Community and Youth Ministry.