• Sun. Dec 10th, 2023

Referees for non-league and amateur matches allegedly earn just $60 a match. They deserve respect, and a safe space to get their work done.

Oct 19, 2023 ,

Members of the Singapore football family have responded to TMSG’s news break about a referee who was assaulted at the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) FA Cup match between East Coast United FC and GFA Victoria which took place on 8 October at Bukit Gombak Stadium. 


The video which was also posted on TMSG’s Instagram account has since garnered 76,000 views.

TMSG has since also confirmed that the referee who was allegedly assaulted was Wan Tung Han, who is a Class 1 referee who was registered as a match official in May 2014.

He is said to be about 50-years-old.

Wan did not respond to TMSG’s calls for comments via mobile phone or to his social media accounts.

He has since filed a police report over the incident. 

Readers sent us direct messages expressing outrage at the incident, with the perpetrator confirmed as being a player from East Coast United.

The incident happened in the 92nd minute of play and East Coast United went on to win the match 1-0.

“The referee who was assaulted in the recent FA Cup match is one of the oldest referees across the whole fraternity to qualify the fitness requisite to officiate in the Singapore Premier League,” said a TMSG reader, who was a former referee, through a DM who asked for anonymity.

“He is a fatherly figure, and a true gentleman.”

“I hope there is awareness on the physical, verbal and mental abuses referees have to face while sacrificing their time for Singapore football,” the former referee added.

He also added that Wan is regarded as “Uncle Wan” to those in the fraternity.

“There needs to be awareness of the issue so that action can be taken,” he added.


Another current active referee who spoke to TMSG on condition of anonymity also pointed out the lack of legal aid for referees who would like to seek legal recourse to pursue civil action against perpetrators of violence while on the field of play.

“There must be a lot more protection for referees,” he said.

“Yes serious cases can be investigated by the police, but what about those which are not and which the police do not pursue criminal investigations?”

Players may face a disciplinary committee for further action, but how about the referees who are assaulted and abused?


How about the need for ensuring that referees can do their work in a safe space, and be given access to support mechanisms like legal advice and aid, and also mental health wellness programmes especially given that such incidents can have a detrimental effect on one’s wellbeing, with victims being impacted for life.

The current referee also allegedly said that there was no clarity about what were the options available to them as this has not been made clear to them by the administration, which is somewhat strange.

They allegedly also do not have access to recovery support like post-match massages.

Why not, if so?

An incident of a former referee Mohd Asadullah who was assaulted during a PSA inter-departmental football match in 2014, was also referenced.

The assailant, Muhammad Maziz Abdul Rahman, caused grievous hurt to the referee during an inter-department football tournament which took place on 4 December 2014.

The assailant punched the referee’s face twice and kicked the back of his head when he was lying on the ground at the football field at Bukit Chermin Road, PSA Club.

Mohd Asadullah, then a full-time staff of the FAS, suffered serious injuries, including a broken nose. 

Asadullah did not get any legal aid from the FAS.

Even more appalling, the FAS did not submit a letter of guarantee to the hospital for Asadullah’s nasal surgery.

This is no slight on the current administration of the FAS, as it happened in 2014, under the administration then led by general secretary Winston Lee and President Zainudin Nordin.

The assailant was then jailed for 10 months, and was ordered to pay $2,000 as compensation to the victim. 


There have been one too many incidents involving violence on the field of play, especially in non-league matches which take place without the glare of cameras.

In July, a Singapore Football League match between Yishun Sentek and Warwick Knights was abandoned in the 27th minute after the referee had his uniform torn by a player.

In September, TMSG also reported how an FAS Island Wide League match resulted in the police being summoned to the Serangoon Stadium after a scuffle broke out in the stands during a non-league match between Marsiling Causeway Bay FC and East Coast United FC.

In 2022, TMSG also reported how a Simei United player was allegedly assaulted with a weapon during the Island Wide League match.

In August 2022, a Singapore Football League match between Mattar Sailors and Sporting Westlake erupted into mayhem, which led to a disciplinary panel being convened.

A month later, a Centre of Excellence U17 match also ended up being ugly with former Lion Steven Tan having to step in to calm the unruly heads.


There have been one too many incidents involving violence during matches and while the FAS constantly responds to media queries to state that it does not condone violence of any kind, what exactly are the steps being taken to prevent such incidents or to actually ensure that there is a reduction of such incidents? 

Its statement seems just like a templated drawer statement which is presented whenever an incident surfaces.

The match officials for non-league (Island Wide League, FA Cup) earn a mere $60 for their efforts at officiating. 

They deserve a safe space to get their work done, while they contribute to the game.

Players who indulge in violence should be banned for a substantial period of time and the message should be clear that hooliganism should not be tolerated at all levels of the game.


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