SINGAPORE, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Singapore's football federation
understands the financial motivation behind national captain
Shahril Ishak and defender Baihakki Khaizan's decision to play
in the breakaway Indonesian league, despite the possibility both
could be banned from international duty.
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
their national team.
Ishak and Khaizan resigned from their PSSI-supported
Indonesia Super League team Persib Bandung to join Medan Chiefs.
Zainudin Nordin, president of the Football Association of
Singapore (FAS), said he understood the players' desire to
maximise their earnings in what could be short careers but their
decision came with risks.
"Both players have opted to play in a league which is not
sanctioned by the country's football association," he said in a
statement on Sunday.
"Depending on FIFA's ruling on the issue, Shahril and
Baihakki may find themselves disqualified from playing for
Singapore and possibly FIFA-sanctioned Leagues for a significant
period of time.
"It would have been an ideal situation if the high salaries
are paid by a club properly sanctioned by the Football
Association of Indonesia."
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 minister.
The Singapore duo will become the latest names to join the
league which has been on a high-profile recruitment drive
following the capture of once-capped England international Lee
Hendrie last month.
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