Indonesians rally for football league's restoration

Football fans want president to step in and overturn sport minister's decision to suspend the domestic league.

    Correction, 05/05/2015: An earlier version of this article named Andi Mallarangeng as Indonesia's sports minister. This was incorrect and has been changed to Imam Nachrawi.

    Football fans in Indonesia have rallied outside the presidential palace in Jakarta, demanding that President Joko Widodo step in and reinstate the national football league.

    Indonesia's sports minister suspended the league earlier this year after the football association held a congress the minister considered invalid.

    In response, the football association stopped this year's competition, disappointing supporters, clubs and players.

    Al Jazeera's Step Vaessen, reporting from Jakarta on Tuesday, said they feel both sides are playing poltics and want the president to intervene and save Indonesia's football from dying.

    Unfortunately, he does not seem to care much about football.

    Imam Nachrawi, the sports minister, now wants his own team, a so-called transition team, to organise the competition.
    But many wonder how that will work since the football association has all the funding, contracts and experience.

    This crisis is the peak of a long and deep crisis in Indonesia's football tainted by politics and mismanagement.

    Indonesia risks being suspended by FIFA, the sport's governing body, which does not allow government intervention in a national football body.

    The country also risks being disqualified from any 2018 World Cup qualifying matches as a result.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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