Singapore police Thursday raided the offices of the city-state’s football governing body, which is in the throes of a leadership struggle ahead of a FIFA-ordered election.
At least six investigators from the city state’s white collar crime unit entered the offices of the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) around 5:30pm where they were seen speaking to staff and going through documents.
Officers spent close to eight hours at the FAS offices before carting off 18 boxes of documents, an AFP reporter at the scene said.
Similar raids also took place in the clubhouses of three local football clubs where staff members were seen being led away by detectives, local media reported.
The city-state’s football fraternity has been locked in a two-way leadership tussle for weeks ahead of a FIFA-ordered election.
Accusations of financial mismanagement have been levelled at Bill Ng, who chairs the Tiong Bahru Football Club, after news emerged last week of the club donating Sg$500,000 to the ASEAN Football Federation between 2014 and 2015 through the FAS.
News of the donation drew criticism from fans and commentators who questioned why funds were going to a foreign entity instead of supporting the beleaguered local league.
The Tiong Bahru clubhouse was among those raided on Thursday.
The raid came after Singapore’s sports governing body this week filed a police report against a “senior official” for obstructing an audit and for “suspected misuse of Tiong Bahru Football Club’s funds”.
“(Sport Singapore) also made further checks, which raised other serious questions about the use of Club funds,” it said in a statement.
A FIFA spokesperson said in an email that the international football governing body was “monitoring the situation”.
“Please understand that we cannot comment further at this stage nor speculate on potential future scenarios,” he added.
The FAS, which is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year, is due to have its inaugural leadership elections this weekend.
Council members were previously appointed by the Singapore sports minister, with the FAS chief traditionally an elected member of the ruling People’s Action Party.