SINGAPORE, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Singapore captain Shahril
Ishak and defender Baihakki Khaizan are expected to join Medan
Chiefs in the breakaway Indonesian league next week despite the
prospect of sanctions from their football association.
The Indonesian Premier League (LPI) is an independent
professional league launched last month without recognition from
world governing body FIFA or the Football Association of
Indonesia (PSSI), which has banned LPI players from representing
the national team.
Ishak and Khaizan resigned from their PSSI-supported
Indonesia Super League (ISL) team Persib Bandung on Monday but
because their prospective new LPI side is not recognised by the
Singapore Football Association (FAS) their international careers
might be on hold.
"As required by FIFA statutes and regulations, the FAS only
recognises leagues that are officially sanctioned by the
respective member associations of FIFA," FAS official Isaac
Christian told Reuters on Tuesday.
"In this instance, the FAS will be writing to the PSSI to
seek further information about this new league.
"We will also seek input from FIFA before any decision is
The 19-team LPI, which includes three sides who switched
from the ISL, is the brainchild of oil tycoon Arifin Panigoro.
It is aimed at improving the level of the game in the country
ranked 129th by FIFA and is backed by the country's sports
The Singapore duo are expected to become the latest names to
join the league which has been on a high-profile recruitment
drive following the capture of former England international Lee
Hendrie last month.
"We will be very glad if they come," LPI official Abi
Hasantoso told Reuters.
"They are good players with high-skill football and
determination and are key players for the Singapore national
"We hope they can improve their new team to compete with
other LPI teams. They are big names. Indonesian football lovers
know them very well. It sounds great for LPI and Indonesia
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