Shakir Hamzah will be breathing a sigh of relief after he avoided a ban from all footballing activities following a decision by an internal disciplinary committee (DC) in the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) today.
The LionsXII defender was brought to task and charged for bringing the game into disrepute after falsely informing FAS in May that he had obtained permission from his National Service (NS) unit to travel for a Malaysian Super League (MSL) match against Pahang FC in Kuantan on May 17.
Having served a four-day detention sentence in NS for going Absent Without Official Leave (AWOL), the released Shakir was found guilty and hit with a $4,000 fine on top of a 30-hour community service sentence in football. The fine will be paid in two monthly instalments by August 20 while the community service has to be served within three months under supervision by an FAS youth coach.
Chairman of the FAS Internal DC Mohamed Muzamil said a “serious view” of Shakir’s offences was taken but pointed out he was charged not for the AWOL offence itself.
“We would like to reiterate that we do not condone such acts which bring the game into disrepute,” he said.
“We are, however, charging him with violating Clause 1(b) and Clause 1(d) of the FAS Code of Conduct & Professional Ethics [the “Code of Conduct”] for LionsXII players and not the AWOL incident as that has been dealt with by the relevant authorities.”
The clauses basically state that all players have to avoid situations where they could tarnish the image of Singapore, FAS or the LionsXII and also that players cannot break Singapore laws. They should further refrain from any activity or conduct that will put the FAS in negative publicity, embarrassment or disrepute.
The DC took into account Shakir’s remorse and his immediate apology to FAS and fans as well as his admitting to the charge “unreservedly” in the defender’s mitigation.
The player himself expressed his deep regret again and accepted his punishment.
“I would like to apologise again to the FAS, my unit, LionsXII coaches and teammates, as well as our fans for the mistake and bringing the game into disrepute,” Shakir said.
“I have learnt my lesson and I am determined to show that I am a changed person, both on and off the pitch. I will also continue to work hard, remain focused and play my part in helping my team achieve more success.”
LionsXII coach V. Sundramoorthy admitted he was “disappointed” by Shakir’s actions but backed him to become a better person.
“Shakir is a good player but like any other professional footballer, he has to ensure that he maintains a high level of discipline at all times,” he said.
“While I am disappointed by his act, I am convinced that he is determined to move forward. We have been counselling him and since then there have been positive changes in him. I will continue to guide him, and help him become a good footballer who is disciplined both on and off the field.”
FAS deputy director Ridzal Saat also stated that they would continue to counsel and work closely with Shakir, as well as to review their current processes and procedures regarding leave management for teams and players who are not part of the NS Sportsmen Scheme.