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 By Kenneth Tan

Tampines Rovers chairman Krishna Ramachandra steps down

Tampines Rovers chairman Krishna Ramachandra has officially stepped down after just 22 months in charge of the S.League giants.

The 45-year-old first announced his intention to leave on June 21, citing overwhelming work demands in his role as a corporate lawyer.

In the past couple of months, he has been working with Football Association of Singapore (FAS) to review the club's accounts, financial position and matters of governance, as part of preparation for the appointment of a new chairman.

It was a short, yet eventful reign as Tampines chairman for Krishna, who took over from current FAS vice-president Teo Hock Seng in Nov. 2015.

The latter had presided over a successful 15-year period for the club, winning five S.League titles, three Singapore Cups and the now-defunct ASEAN Club Championship in 2005.

Tampines chairman Krishna Ramachandra
Krishna, right, made the bold signing of ex-Liverpool winger Jermaine Pennant in January 2016.

Krishna breathed fresh air into the Singapore football scene after taking over, bringing out Brazil legend Ronaldinho at the end of 2015 with a view to starting a junior academy, and signing ex-Liverpool winger Jermaine Pennant for the 2016 season.

However, Pennant lasted only one season with mixed success, rejecting a less lucrative contract as the club decided to slash their wages' bill.

Krishna had chosen to adopt a more sustainable financial model, which steers away from the traditional method of relying on clubhouse jackpot machine revenue.

However, Tampines soon faced cash-flow issues and had sought financial assistance from FAS after just a couple of months into his first season at the helm.

And it was reported in May that Ronaldinho's proposed academy had closed down without conducting a single training session.

Despite having Singapore's strongest squad, Tampines ended the 2016 season without a trophy, with their problems persisting this year as the players received their salaries late, due to an administrative issue.

Krishna was also part of Team Game Changers, formed by Hougang United chairman Bill Ng to contest the FAS election in April. But they would end up losing to Lim Kia Tong's Team LKT by 30 votes to 13.

Despite enduring some tough times in his short reign as chairman, Krishna has no regrets taking over the post from Teo.

"It has been an enriching experience being involved with the S.League and Tampines," he said in a FAS media statement issued on Friday.

"I have certainly learnt a lot during my tenure. Perhaps the most important thing I observed is that there was and there still remains a lot of passion and interest in football in Singapore.

"I hope that will eventually translate to the revival and resurgence of Singapore as a footballing nation."

Kenneth Tan is a Singapore-based football writer on S.League and AFC Cup for ESPN FC and FourFourTwo. Twitter: @KennerveT


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