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Japan, Singapore approve swapping venues for World Cup qualifiers

Reuters

Japan and Singapore have agreed to switch venues for their two home and away World Cup qualifiers after the first match clashed with the South East Asian (SEA) Games.

Singapore was due to host Japan at the glitzy new National Stadium on June 16 in the second round of Asian qualifiers.

But the stadium had already been booked that same night to host the closing ceremony of the SEA Games, one of the centerpieces of Singapore’s 50th anniversary of independence.

The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) asked the Japan Football Association, Asian Football Confederation and FIFA for permission to switch the venues and their request was granted.

The June 15 match will now take place in Japan with the return fixture being held in Singapore on Nov. 12.

“We would like to thank FIFA, the AFC and JFA for understanding our circumstances with regard to the 16 June World Cup qualifying game, and agreeing to our request to play the match in Japan,” said Zainudin Nordin, the FAS president, in a statement.

Japan and Singapore are drawn in Group E of the World Cup qualifiers, which will double as qualifiers for the 2019 Asian Cup. Cambodia, Afghanistan and Syria are also in the same group.