FIFA warns of sanctions unless sports ministry, PSSI settle dispute by May 29

Jakarta – World football’s governing body FIFA has warned that Indonesia will face suspension unless the Youth and Sports Ministry revoked its decision to suspend the Indonesian football association, PSSI, and settle an ongoing battle for control of the sport by May 29.

In a letter sent to PSSI, FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke said it would not hesitate to take “swift and decisive action” to prevent any forms of interference that could bring turmoil back into PSSI.

A suspension by FIFA could mean Indonesia will not be able to take part in international competitions at national and club levels.

Two Indonesian clubs – Persib Bandung and Persipura Jayapura – are currently competing in the AFC Cup.

The Sports Ministry last month suspended PSSI for ignoring orders to exclude two clubs – Persebaya Surabaya and Arema Cronus – from the Indonesian Super League competition on the grounds of ownership disputes.

The move came despite FIFA’s warning that Indonesia risks sanctions if the government interferes in the association’s affairs.

With the suspension, all activities conducted by PSSI would not be recognized by the government, the ministry said.

The ministry said all league competitions and national teams would be managed by the Indonesian Olympics Committee for the time being.

But in a surprise move, PSSI last week declared that all league competitions had been cancelled because the ministry’s decision had prevented it from organizing matches.

PSSI newly-elected chairman La Nyalla Mattaliti said only FIFA could suspend a national association and has lodged a legal petition challenging the legality of the decision.

Until recently, PSSI was bogged down by infighting involving forces seeking to control the sport in the football-mad country.

The row hobbled the performance of the national team as Indonesia could not field its strongest team because many of its top players played in a rival league not recognized by PSSI.

The dispute was resolved in 2013.

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