They have been in the S-League since 2004 and have stayed trouble free throughout their entire time in Singapore. Albirex Niigata (S) have been a fine example of a professionally run football club, and their 2011 League Cup win has made them one of the most successful foreign sides to have played in the league.
Despite their glowing record, aXrosstheline.com understands that Albirex could call an end to their association with the S-League in the coming year.
After receiving news that the S-League Business Unit (SBU) is currently in talks with another Japanese side, Cerezo Osaka, who have expressed interest in participating in the 2013 Great Eastern Yeo’s S-League, Albirex are considering a pullout.
“It is understood that officials within the club are furious with the developments of things and they will pull out of the league should Cerezo be eventually accepted by the SBU,” a source close to the club told aXrosstheline.com
aXrosstheline.com understands that there were talks between representatives of a company that represents Cerezo and the SBU, with S-League Chief Executive Officer Mr Lim Chin and its Chief Operations Officer, Mr Kok Wai Leong present at the meeting held at the Football Association of Singapore premises earlier this week.
Sources close to Albirex revealed that the move to bring Cerezo into the S-League is not a welcome one, instead, it has already caused frustration at Albirex’s Jurong East headquarters, but the club’s management team declined to comment when approached.
The S-League currently being contested by 13 sides, after 2010 S-League Champions Etoile FC announced their decision to pull out of the league less than a month before the current season kicked off. Sources say that the SBU have been discussing the possibility of having the 14th team in the league for 2013 and that selection process has already begun.
Having the uneven number of 13 teams playing has led to a situation where one team will be left without a fixture each week, having as much as a 14-day break between games, a situation that will not occur if the league has an even number of teams.
After Etoile’s exit, there are three foreign sides left playing in the S-League: Albirex, Malaysia’s Harimau Muda and Brunei side DPMM.