REUTERS - Premier League club Arsenal will play a pre-season friendly against the Indonesia national team in Jakarta despite FIFA’s continued threat to ban the Southeast Asian team.
The match would take place on July 14 at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, Arsenal said on Tuesday, with the club also planning further fixtures in Asia as they continue their commercial push in the Premier League-obsessed region.
“We know that Arsenal enjoys fantastic support in Indonesia, with over 1.3 million fans connected to us by Facebook alone, and we look forward to giving our loyal fans the chance to see their heroes in action,” Arsenal chief commercial officer Tom Fox said in a statement.
It will be the third year in a row that Arsenal have conducted pre-season tours in Asia after manager Arsene Wenger had previously favoured taking his squad to mainland Europe for low-key trips.
Having visited China and Malaysia in previous years, Arsenal will head to one of the world’s most populated countries where the Premier League is king but the country’s national team and domestic competition is in a mess because of a power struggle.
World governing body FIFA have continually threatened to ban Indonesia, who at one stage last year had two national teams and still have two domestic leagues.
The depleted national team suffered a humiliating, record 10-0 loss to Bahrain last year with many of their established players unable to be selected as they played in the rival league not recognised by the Indonesian Football Association (PSSI).
FIFA have given the PSSI until March 20 to resolve their differences with the breakaway KPSI organisation and reunite Indonesian football.
Everton were meant to play in Indonesia in July prior to the start of the current Premier League campaign but cancelled their tour after issues with organisers.
Reporting by Patrick Johnston in Singapore; Editing by John O'Brien