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SEA Games 2023: Football chief admits loss to Malaysia ‘one of the worst nights in our history’, says sorry for social media outburst

SINGAPORE – Calling the Young Lions’ 7-0 mauling by Malaysia “one of the worst nights in our history”, Football Association of Singapore (FAS) acting president Bernard Tan has vowed that “tough questions will be asked” over the next two weeks.

On Thursday, Singapore were soundly beaten by their Causeway rivals in their worst defeat at the SEA Games football competition since 1971. The Under-22 side finished the campaign rock bottom in Group B with zero wins in four matches – their fifth straight group stage exit at the Games.

The dismal results have left fans frustrated and angry, with many taking to social media to criticise the team and the FAS.

These included threads on online forums such as Reddit and HardwareZone, as well as within Facebook fan groups like SingaBrigade.

In reply, Tan said: “I don’t get paid. One time offer. Instead of abusing me here. Abuse me face to face. Let’s meet.”

He also included his FAS e-mail address, as well as a caveat that he would leave the original commenter’s words up for 24 hours, before deleting it.

Explaining his actions in a separate post on Friday, Tan apologised and said that he regretted responding.

“I have always wanted to be more open, even through social media, to meet people privately, as there are many who have offered constructive feedback and perceptions from the ground,” he wrote.

“But events of last night led to emotions running high with some abuse on my social media from unfamiliar accounts. I regret responding and apologise deeply... I am human. I was hurting too.”

Although he also received supportive messages, he asked that those be directed to the team instead, noting that “they must be devastated”.

Tan also noted that the FAS “has always been open to engagement with stakeholders” and the association has advised him that this would be “best done in formal organised settings”.

He added: “Tough questions will be asked over the next two weeks, and we will do this openly.”