FIFA issues Indonesian deadline
World football’s governing body gives administrators one last chance after power struggles threaten domestic league.
FIFA has once again asked the under-pressure Indonesian football federation to set its house in order by Monday or face suspension, local media said on Thursday.
Soccer in the Asian country has been plagued by infighting between the Indonesian Soccer Association (PSSI) and the breakaway Indonesian Soccer Rescue Committee (KPSI) for control of the sport in one of the world’s most populated countries.
The two factions, who have their own leagues, signed a memorandum of understanding in June at the headquarters of the Asian Football Confederation where they agreed to run one league next season and hold a congress by December 10.
FIFA secretary-general Jerome Valcke wrote a letter to sports minister Andi Mallarangeng, saying Indonesia faced indefinite sanctions if the rows were not resolved at Monday’s meeting, the Jakarta Post newspaper reported.
“…in case of failure, the case would be brought before the FIFA Executive Committee on Dec. 14, 2012, in order to determine the sanctions, which could go as far as an indefinite suspension,” Valcke said in the letter, the report said.
“Unfortunately yet again, it seems that the set objectives will not be reached and we, therefore, anticipate that the PSSI will be sanctioned,” Valcke was quoted as saying.
“With the deadline approaching and in the current situation, we deem it important that the Indonesian authorities be made aware of the likely sanctions to be imposed on Indonesia.
“We are fully aware that Indonesia is passionate about soccer and that sanctions will have a major impact. We have tried tirelessly to solve the problems, but we are afraid that there will be no choice unless the objectives of FIFA and the AFC are met or that significant progress has been made.”
Any suspension would jeopardise Indonesia’s participation in the qualifying tournament for the 2015 Asian Cup which begins in February.
Indonesia’s early exit from the ongoing AFF Suzuki Cup has also renewed calls for a truce between the factions with national captain Elie Aiboy blaming the setback at the Southeast Asian championships on the protracted conflict that has rumbled on for many years.
The national team were humiliated 10-0 by Bahrain, a record defeat, in a World Cup qualifier in February after many of their established internationals were blocked from playing because they had contracts with supposed ‘rebel’ KPSI Indonesian clubs.
On Monday, the death of Paraguayan striker Diego Mendieta from a viral infection heaped further pressure on the PSSI, with world players’ union FIFPro lambasting the “structural mismanagement” of the Indonesian clubs.
Mendieta, who played for Indonesian club Persis Solo last year, wanted to return home but was unable to do so as the club owed him four months’ wages.
The PSSI said they would not step in to pay Mendieta’s family the money owed by the club as the team competed in a league which they did not recognise.
“If the PSSI is united and together, they can focus on managing the national football. If they are constantly in a state of conflict what happens is this,” KPSI member and Solo mayor Hadi Rudyatmo told the Jakarta Globe.
“Clubs are emerging but they can’t afford to pay salaries. If PSSI is united there won’t be any more club which can’t afford to pay its players.”