FIFA step into Indonesian football crisis

World football’s governing body takes over day-to-day management of Indonesia’s FA after leadership dispute.

Lamnao Singto
The Indonesian government has welcomed FIFA’s intervention to improve the management of domestic football administration [EPA]

FIFA, the governing body of world football, have taken over the management of the Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) after a prolonged leadership crisis.

The move comes after weeks of protests against controversial PSSI head Nurdin Halid and his organisation’s failure to stop the popular breakaway Indonesian Premier League (LPI) which was started in January by local oil tycoon Arifin Panigoro.

FIFA said the PSSI had lost all credibility in Indonesia and were not in a position to control the current crisis.

They have announced they will appoint a committee to run the PSSI and organise presidential elections by May 21.

FIFA also banned Halid and his main rivals, including Panigoro, from contesting the upcoming elections.

‘Not in control’

“The FIFA Emergency Committee estimated that the current PSSI leadership was not in control of football in Indonesia,” FIFA said in a statement.

This was “proven by the failure to gain control” of a breakaway league which was set up without PSSI involvement.

PSSI was also criticised for being unable to organise a meeting with the aim of adopting an electoral code and choosing an electoral commission.

FIFA’s decision has been warmly received by the southeast Asian country’s government.

“I highly appreciate FIFA’s decision as it is in line with the government’s willingness to improve PSSI’s management,” Sports Minister Andi Mallarangeng said according to Antara state news agency.

The minister will meet FIFA President Sepp Blatter soon to discuss the takeover.

The news of FIFA’s intervention was also welcomed by the LPI, who have received government support from the outset and have been working with the Indonesian Professional Sports Body instead of the PSSI.

“Right now, we will keep running with the Indonesian Professional Sports State Body (BOPI) but we are sure that the new officers of the PSSI will accept LPI,” league official Abi Hasantoso told news agency Reuters.

“The LPI is based on FIFA’s direction ‘For the Good of the Game’ and the AFC’s (Asian Football Confederation) Pro-League Committee.”

Panigoro set up the breakaway league, which tried late last month to take over a PSSI congressional meeting that was supposed to vote on key aspects of upcoming elections.

The LPI also held its debut match in January, as the crisis triggered a wave of protests in various cities and calls for Halid, a convicted embezzler, to step down after an eight-year stint as PSSI chief.

Halid had rejected a FIFA demand in 2007 to organise fresh elections to choose his replacement.

Indonesia were runners-up to Malaysia in the AFF Suzuki Cup in December but have performed lamentably over recent years given the country’s 240 million population and are currently ranked 127th in the world by FIFA.

Source: News Agencies