Report: Singapore could swap home qualifiers with Japan

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The Football Association of (FAS) is considering a swap of its home-and-away World Cup qualifiers with due to a scheduling conflict with the country’ National Stadium, Kyodo reported on Saturday.

The 50,000-plus capacity venue, which opened last summer, is set to host the closing ceremonies of the 2015 Southeast Asian Games on June 16, the same day the Lions are set to welcome the Samurai Blue.

The potential exchange would see Japan host the June match instead, likely at the national team’s preferred home ground of Saitama Stadium, with Singapore getting the return leg on November 12.

Should the schedule remain as it stands, the next-largest stadium available on June 16 would be the Jalan Besar, which is capable of holding just 8,000 fans and boasts an artificial pitch.

While the LionsXII fortress is a feasible option – Singapore fell 2-1 to Japan there in a 2006 World Cup qualifier – the reduced capacity would not only complicate logistics, but deprive the FAS of significant revenue.

The October 2014 friendly between Japan and Brazil at Singapore National Stadium drew a sold-out crowd of over 51,000, with tickets priced as high as SG$180 (US$130).