Ex-national footballer K Kannan appeals against lifetime ban

Fifth attempt for the life ban to be lifted

1. Background

On 13 August 2021, Eugene Thuraisingam LLP representing former national footballer, K Kannan (“Kannan”), submitted an appeal to the Football Association of Singapore (“FAS”) to have his lifetime ban from football activities lifted. His previous appeals, dated back to 1995 and the most recently in 2002, to the FAS and Asian Football Confederation were rejected.

In 1995, in a reported judgment, Kannan s/o Kunjiraman and another v Public Prosecutor [1995] 3 SLR(R) 294, Kannan was convicted by the Subordinate Court (now known as the State Courts) alongside his Changi United club chairman Ong Kheng Hock, on a joint charge of conspiring with Rajendran R Kurusamy (also known as Pal) to bribe former national goalkeeper David Lee with a sum of $80,000. Kannan was also convicted on a charge of receiving from Rajendran $5,000 as a reward for arranging the bribe. He served a total of 14 months in prison. David Lee was never actually informed of the bribe.

Pursuant to Article 75.8 of the FAS Constitution, any person who is convicted of corruption “shall be permanently suspended from taking part in football management or membership or activities of the FAS.

On 18 April 1995, Kannan was permanently suspended from taking part in football management or membership or activities of the FAS.

2. Kannan received a letter from FAS

On 12 August 2020, FAS issued a letter to Kannan, following a complaint that he had been playing social football at the Indian Association (“IA”). In the letter, FAS cited among other things, Article 75.8 of the Constitution and that Kannan’s lifetime ban extends to “all football related activities” following his conviction.

However, Kannan’s involvement with the IA does not contravene the permanent suspension, as IA is not an affiliate member of the FAS.

3. Other similar cases

Currently, according to the FAS website, there are 16 players who have been permanently suspended for life.

Kannan has been suspended for 26 years and counting. He wishes to give back to the footballing fraternity and to pass on the love of the game to younger footballers. He does not wish to take this permanent suspension to his grave. He hopes that the FAS will exercise discretion and compassion and lift the permanent suspension.