Warriors FC, commonly known before as Singapore Armed Forces Football Club and champions of the S-League for nine times, pleaded guilty to 134 charges and were penalized with $26,000 on January 11, with three unrelated charges that allowed pardon and absolution.
Predominantly, 133 out of 137 of the charges that they dealt with were connected to failure to pay the salaries of their staff between July 2019 to December 2019 in accordance with the Employment Act.
The rest of the charges were connected to an incident back in March 2016 where the football club neglected to tell the Police Licensing and Regulatory Department that they will be hiring four security guards to make random security bag checks at an S-League match. These charges were under the Public Security Industry Act.
As a result, the Warriors were penalized with a total of $21,000 for six Employment Act charges, and $5,000 for the PSIA charges, meanwhile the rest of the charges were still under deliberation.
The club were permitted to pay for all the penalties in installments that are payable in 15 months, which is supposed to end in May 2023. They have been struggling financially these past few years. They were also forced to not participate in the 2020 and 2021 editions of the Singapore Premier League for the same reasons.
In their alleviation appeal, the club’s legal representative Azri Imran Tan of I.R.B Law stated that the club would not condone their stance, especially in connection to the employment charges, they humbly accepted their responsibility.
The club did everything they could to make amends including the repayment to the employees involved in the case, with the final installment of the payment to affect staff that they have completed last year.
To sum it all up, including the charges that are under deliberation, the club failed to pay the $350,000 salaries of their 35 staff.
Debts and financial difficulties
As of now, the Warriors were still in debt. They owed at least $560,000 to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore and Central Provident Fund. Although, payment schemes which are controllable and useful in accordance with both government agencies.
Tan also stated that the present management of the Warriors are determined to get through these difficulties, by proactively acknowledging the issues and inadequacies. He also noted that the club’s goal right now is to be able to go back to competing in the tournaments in Singapore to provide them with a head start.
Previously under the domain of the Ministry of Defense, the Warriors were considered as the most unbeaten club in SPL and Singapore pool football results during the professional era which started in 1996. However, their last championship title was in 2014.
The reason why the name of the club was changed to Warriors in 2013 prior to Mindef taking over the club in January 2017 is because to permit an anonymous private sponsor to have discretion in the operations of the club.
It was reported in 2018 that the club failed to pay the salaries of their employees on time. This has led to the order of the Ministry of Manpower to prevent them from hiring foreign players.
The Football Association of Singapore has raised their concern to the club due to the continuous late salary payouts. They stated that they were alarmed with how the financial subsidies were spent in the club.
Considering the financial struggles of the club, the FAS forced the club to not participate in the following editions of the Singapore Premier League. The Warriors officially submitted a request of reinstatement of their participation to the SPL, citing that they have already paid their debts, however, they were not permitted to return.