AFTER waiting for months, local football legend Fandi Ahmad will finally get what he is owed.
Yesterday, the Sembawang Soccer Academy (SSA) was fined $2,400 for failing to pay the former national team captain’s CPF contributions when he was its director of football development for a five-month spell.
It was also ordered to pay $10,007 – five months’ worth of the CPF contribution arrears – to Fandi.
The 49-year-old, who has since become the technical adviser for second-tier Malaysian club Johor FA, told The New Paper in an exclusive interview on Jan 31 that he was owed several months’ salary by the SSA.
Fandi signed a five-year contract with the SSA in August last year, but served notice to leave the academy on Jan 15, citing their repeated default on payment of his salary.
His salary with SSA was believed to be $25,000, with a housing allowance of $5,000.
The SSA, which was represented by director Ferdinand Robert in court yesterday morning, pleaded guilty to four charges.
The CPF board said it began investigating the case after Fandi’s claims were first reported in TNP.
It said: “With the information provided in TNP’s report... the CPF board investigated the matter.
“Our investigation showed that the SSA had defaulted on CPF payments to Mr Fandi, and the board subsequently initiated legal actions against SSA when it failed to make good the contributions.”
The board also clarified that no other SSA employee is owed CPF payments.
SSA lawyer Adrian Chong from Low Yeap Toh & Goon told the court that the academy proposed to pay the $10,007 in instalments, the first of which was deposited last Wednesday. It is not known how long the SSA have to pay the fullsum of arrears.
Mr Robert, who was accompanied by SSA general manager Alfred Loi, declined comment when approached by TNP yesterday.
In its statement, the CPF board stressed its stance on employers who fail to pay its employers CPF contributions on time.
“We take a serious view of employers who default on CPF contributions, and will not hesitate to take firm action against such errant employers,” it said.
“Employers are reminded to pay the correct amount of CPF contributions for their local employees within the prescribed period. Workers should also check their CPF accounts regularly via the CPF website to ensure correct CPF payment by their employers.”
It said people can report the non-payment or underpayment of CPF contributions to the CPF board via firstname.lastname@example.org or the CPF hotline at 1800-227-1188. All information will be kept strictly confidential.
Since retiring as a footballer, Fandi has led SAFFC to the S-League title in 2000 and 2002 as head coach.
As assistant to national coach Raddy Avramovic, Fandi helped the Lions lift the Tiger Cup in 2005, before taking the reins of Indonesian club Pelita Jaya.
He returned to Singapore in 2009 to form the Fandi Ahmad Academy and was appointed coach of the H-Two-O Dream Team – a project launched to discover young football talent – before inking a deal with theSSA.
THE Sembawang Soccer Academy’s (SSA) cash-flow problems have been well-documented in the media since it revealed an audacious $60 million football blueprint last August.
This included building its own academy and sending young footballers abroad on training stints.
The academy made the headlines last October when it was embroiled in a contractual dispute with its Italian partner, Genova International School of Soccer (GISS).
GISS director Morris Pagniello sought compensation totalling 814,059 euros (S$1.3million) from SSA after it allegedly defaulted payment of training expenses for a batch of 25 young footballers who had travelled to Pisa, and breached the two parties’ agreement.
But The New Paper reported last month that the two parties reached a verbal agreement for a settlement figure of 300,000euros.
The SSA’s attempt at the end of last year to form a professional football team to play in the S-League this season also failed.
In the process, it got into more contractual disputes, this time with six former S-League players – Indra Sahdan Daud, Mohd Noor Ali, Fadhil Salim, Shariff Samat, Nor Azli Yusoff and Argentinian Carlos Delgado – who in February told TNP they had not been paid since signing a letter of agreement with the academy in December.
Indra and Nor Azli have since joined Home United, while Fadhil Salim has signed for Hougang United.
The other three players are still without S-League clubs.