• Thu. Oct 5th, 2023

Singapore’s Albirex Niigata to turn into a local club.

Sep 13, 2023 ,

Six time Singapore Premier League (SPL) champions Albirex Niigata have announced that they will be transitioning from a predominantly foreign team to a local team with foreign players.

The move comes 20 years after the club established themselves in Singapore, being based out of Jurong East Stadium.

From 2004 till 2017, the club played in the league with an all Japanese squad, which gave rise to names like 2005 Young Player of the Year Issey Nakajima-Farran (photo below) and Arata Izumi, among many others, who have gone on to represent other SPL clubs. 


The move has been in the works for a few years.

From 2018 onwards, Albirex Niigata began inducting local players into the team, with the likes of Ilhan Fandi and Hassan Sunny within the team’s rosters.

The club currently has nine Singaporean players on its SPL roster.

Among the outcomes of the transition for the club would be that they are now eligible for much more in subsidies from the Football Association of Singapore, and the White Swans will also be able to participate in the Asian Football Confederation continental competitions if they qualify for them. 

Since 2004, the club has not been eligible to be Singapore’s representative to AFC competitions even though they have lifted six league titles and four Singapore Cup titles. 

The club also have been champions of the League Cup on four occassions.


“The decision to localise is a dream for Albirex Niigata FC (S), which will contribute more than ever before to strengthening football in this country and spreading the name of the club throughout Asia and the world, together with the fans, partners and other Albirex family members who have supported the club up to now,” said the club on its website. 

“We would like to make history with you,” it continued. 

Club chairman Daisuke Korenaga believes that the club will have three main tasks to fulfill with the localisation exercise. 

  • To help the Singapore national team to become stronger
  • To increase the presence of football in Singapore
  • To be the top sport that connects communities

“By localisation, we have to focus on these,” he said.


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