In an ironic turn of events, the most successful club of the Singapore Premier League failed to pay their employees on time.
They still managed to hire additional security officers though. Here’s what happened.
Financial Difficulties Led To Failure in Salary Payout
Warriors Football Club, the nine-time Singapore Premier League champions, could not pay their employees.
The club’s lawyer, Mr Azri Imran Tan, said that the club started facing financial difficulties in September 2018. That was when it was first reported that the club had not paid the salaries of some players and staff.
Their financial issues worsened, especially with the start of COVID-19. However, the club has since paid the affected staff the money they owed in full.
Owed Salaries Amounted To More Than $110,000
Six employees were not paid their total salaries upon completion of service.
French striker Jonathan Behe was owed the highest amount of salary amongst five players. Between September and November 2019, he was owed $20,253.85.
The four other players who did not receive three to four months’ salary in 2019 are: Ignatius Ang, Muhammad Fadhil Noh, Poh Yi Feng, and Yeo Hai Ngee. The club owed each of them $11,995 to $15,992.50.
The most important “player” of all? The club’s coach, Mr Lee Bee Seng, was not paid from June to December in 2019. He was owed $33,238.80.
In total, the club defaulted on more than $110,000’s worth of salary.
Mr Tan said the club hoped that the Court can understand that the club did not deliberately decide to not pay their employees. Rather, the club was in a real financial crisis and they had no money to pay their employees at all.
But why and how did they manage to hire extra security officers, if their financial situation was so dire?
Legally (But Actually Illegally) Hired Additional Security Officers?
The hiring of officers happened before the defaulting of salary. The club’s breach of the Private Security Industry Act happened in March 2016, when the club had a match against Albirex Niigata Singapore Football Club at Jalan Besar Stadium.
The Singapore Premier League had heightened security requirements for football matches at that period of time. The club thus employed additional security officers to conduct bag checks at the stadium’s entrance.
The extra security was necessary, and the officers were all trained and licensed to be employed. So, what’s the problem?
The club did not notify the licensing officer appointed under the Private Security Industry Act of their employment. Instead, they only notified the Singapore Premier League.
This was a mistaken belief that telling the Premier League was enough for legal purposes. (Spoiler alert: it was not enough.)
A $4,000 fine was imposed for this offence, but the club appealed against it. The Police Licensing and Regulatory Department ended up rejecting them though.
The club basically pretended the fine didn’t exist, as they did not respond to the rejection nor make any payment, despite reminders from the authorities.
Sure, you can handle rejection in this manner… But maybe not when authorities are involved. Just saying.
Instalment Plan for Fines
The club was ultimately fined $26,000 in a district court on Tuesday (11 January for their offences, but they’re unable to pay the fine in full due to—you guessed it—financial issues.
The club has since been ordered to pay the first instalment of the fine on 31 January 2022, and the last instalment on 3 May 2023.
Mr Tan said that “the current management are doing their best to clean up, and restore the club to its former glory.”
According to the club’s Facebook page, they remain the most successful club in the history of the Singapore League, being nine-time champions. They’re also the only team in Singapore to have ever participated in the Asian Football Confederation Champions League Group Stage for two consecutive seasons, in 2009 and 2010.
Hopefully, the Warriors will rise from the ashes and emerge stronger through this crisis.
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Featured Image: Facebook (Warriors FC)
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