Indonesian football hit with sanctions for qualifiers

Crown ban for World Cup and Asian Cup qualifiers against Iraq and home tie against Thailand at neutral venue.

    Indonesia are scheduled to take on Malaysia in October this year [Getty Images]
    Indonesia are scheduled to take on Malaysia in October this year [Getty Images]

    Indonesia, already facing the prospect of a FIFA ban for government interference, have been forced to play their World Cup and Asian Cup qualifier against Iraq in an empty stadium and their home tie against Thailand at a neutral venue.

    The decision was taken by the Asian Football Confederation after crowd trouble during two under-23 matches in March against East Timor and South Korea in Jakarta.

    Indonesia, who were also fined $20,000 by the AFC and warned of heavier sanctions should such incidents recur, are scheduled to host Iraq on June 16 after they start their joint qualifying campaign in Taiwan on June 11.

    They then travel to Hanoi to face Vietnam in September before an October 8 clash at home to Southeast Asian champions Thailand.

    Uncertain future

    But whether Indonesia are allowed to compete in the 2018 World Cup and 2019 Asian Cup qualifiers still remains a big doubt with the domestic game in lockdown after the season was cancelled following a row between local government and football association (PSSI).

    The two sides have been given until Friday to resolve their differences, which have stemmed from the PSSI's repeated failure to expel two clubs from the Indonesian Super League at the government's recommendation because of ownership concerns.

    The government have suspended the PSSI, who have cancelled the league season after two rounds. Meanwhile the players have been left in the lurch with no pay.

    "We will try our best to lobby FIFA not to impose sanctions on Indonesia," PSSI chairman La Nyalla Mattalitti told The Jakarta Post.

    The lack of talks between the two parties suggest a FIFA ban is most likely.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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