SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) and the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) will continue to meet and discuss the Goal 2034 project, they said in a joint statement issued on Tuesday (Mar 10).
"Goal 2034 is a long-term aspiration, and a statement of the ambition and the desire of the FAS to develop Singapore football to greater heights, and make Singapore proud," the statement said.
The ministry "welcomes and supports FAS’s drive for excellence", it added.
The statement comes after comments made by MCCY Senior Parliamentary Secretary Baey Yam Keng in Parliament on Friday that Goal 2034, a plan which entails the Singapore national football team qualifying for the FIFA World Cup in 2034, is a goal not set by the Government but by FAS.
"Goal 2034 is a goal set by FAS. It's not a goal set by the Government. So the role of the Government is to support our NSA (National Sports Association) where possible," said Mr Baey, responding to questions during MCCY's Committee of Supply debate.
In response, the FAS executive committee said in a statement late Friday night that it would be "difficult" for Goal 2034 to succeed if it is not supported by the country.
"Goal 2034 is necessarily a longer term aspiration. It is a goal which the FAS is happy to lead, but it must be a goal of the country, and all its stakeholders. This gives us the best chance of succeeding," it had said.
"In that vein, it is surprising to hear Baey Yam Keng say in Parliament that Goal 2034 is not a goal of the Government, and that is it only a goal of the FAS. That was not our understanding."
READ: Difficult for Goal 2034 to succeed if Singapore cannot support it, says FAS as it seeks clarification from MCCY
The joint statement on Tuesday said FAS had briefed MCCY and key stakeholders last year about its plans for Goal 2034, and FAS has been refining its plans based on the feedback.
"FAS and MCCY will continue to meet to discuss the Goal 2034 project, to establish greater clarity and alignment on the plan," the statement said.
FAS has also been engaging other stakeholders, including the Singapore National Olympic Council, to "further refine" its vision and plans for Goal 2034.
"FAS and MCCY would like to see many stakeholders – including all Singaporeans who enjoy football - jointly own and support Goal 2034, and work toward this vision together as a national project," the statement added.
FAS vice-president Edwin Tong had said in an interview with the Straits Times published in August last year that qualification for the FIFA World Cup in 2034 would be a "realistic" goal for Singapore.
This is not the first time that Singapore has set a target to play at football's showcase tournament.
In 1998, Singapore said it was aiming to qualify for the 2010 World Cup. Then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong said the initiative, dubbed Goal 2010, was “bold and ambitious”.