Monday, March 29, 2010


Special Football Congress

The stale, fetid aroma of politics will hang over Indonesian football for the next couple of days as a special conference gets under way in Malang.

Nearly everyone agrees things ain't rosy in the happy world of football and hasn't been for some time. What has changed recently is the level of debate has intensified, especially over the last few months.

This year Indonesia failed to qualify for the Asian Cup. Last year they managed to lose to Laos at the SEA Games. They never looked like winning at the ASEAN Cup back in 2008 while they hosted the Asian Cup in 2007 but never looked like getting out of the group stage. Indonesia's World Cup ambitions ended 3 years ago. There was another flop at the 2007 ASEAN Cup.

Then there's the local level. And not all these points may be brought up, I have no idea what the schedule is.

In one province the police chief has threatened to arrest match officials he thinks aren't fair; punishments imposed by the disciplinary commission are overturned; there are still occassional outbreaks of serious crowd disorder; there was the World Cup bid. And there's more.

But football has been in a rut for years. Why now? The media have really turned on the FA over recent weeks. The President has had his say and indeed will be in Malang to see Arema take on Pelita Jaya. And now we have this special congress.

Who knows what goes on behind the scenes here? One thing is clear though. If FIFA even whiffs political interference in the FA they could well start the process of suspending Indonesia from all competitive football. Just months after accepting their WC bid.

God knows how and when FIFA decide to act. There are thought to be dozens of complaints piling up in Geneva against teams from disgruntled players seeking outstanding payments. They turned a blind eye while the FA chief was in jail.

Football is political here, there is no getting away from it. The clubs rely on local governments for subsidies!

I don't know what people hope to achieve over the next couple of days. If the FA have the support of the regional FAs then nothing will change. The media will have had their headlines, they will move on to something else. Ex players will stil complain away in the background, sad old gits like me will still be writing drivel and nothing will change.

Hopefully the Jakarta Globe will provide some coverage of the events in Malang.

Nurdin Halid is going out of his way to remind everybody that any decisions made in Malang are not binding (it's not an official PSSI event, donchaknow).

Apparently even the journalists are dividing into camps and taking sides.
he's right and with fifa behind him he can afford to be relaxed
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