Wednesday, January 19, 2011


PSSI v LPI Goes International

It is a truism of the world's media that only negative stories about Indonesia make headlines. You know that worldwide economic downturn that effected so many? hardly caused a ripple here. But did you read about that anywhere beyond a few scholarly economic treatise? Unlikely.

Now the civil war in Indonesian football has gone international. The widely read has this English language piece. An English website, In Bed With Maradona, has an Indonesian Saga. A side point here but these two articles are both written by Indonesians and beyond the subject matter highlight the quality here of football writers in a second language. And this piece on an English website New Battles For Indonesian Football. Plus of course stuff what I done gone did for the Jakarta Globe in the recent past.

I have written extensively on the LPI since it was first mooted and regular readers may have detected a slight touch of cynicism once or twice. Yeah I know, most unlike me.

My cyncism has two strands. First, I don't believe the LPI is wholly about football. Second, I don't believe FIFA give two hoots about what happens here as long as they 'feel' there is no political interference. The FA head has been jailed but FIFA sat on its hands doing nothing waiting for the story to blow away. Yet they are happy to threaten Nigeria when their President said no more friendlies for two years.

There are in fact two stories here. There is a feeling in Indonesia, widespread, that the PSSI (Indonesian FA) are incompetent and corrupt. Are they? Who knows without any whistle blowers. In many quarters the LPI is seen as a reaction to the fumbling bumbling from those who have the responsibility of running the game here.

FIFA is never gonna accept a breakaway league anywhere over which they have no control hence the LPI adventure could have worrying consequences for anyone involved in it.

The LPI and its supporters effectively are saying that two wrongs do make a right. That the PSSI's incompetence justifies the LPI and that FIFA, if they knew the facts, would agree if only they knew all the facts.

But as I wrote the other day that assumes FIFA has any interest in how football is viewed at street level. Recent decisions suggest not. LPI say they wanna sit down and talk with FIFA. That would set a dangerous precedent for the world body. Imagine if every Tom, Dick and Harry, admittedly fully wedged, decided they had a beef with the official FA.

I was having a conversation yesterday with someone and they were saying that if FIFA were to know what goes on here they would surely agree with the LPI. I'm not so sure. FIFA's primary motive is to protect its own. Again their response to allegations of corruption in the World Cup bids shows that. They shoot the messenger then did what all good administrators do. Promised to set up a committee thus brushing everything back under the carpet.

If the might of the English media can not bring around any meaningful change in FIFA then a few irate bloggers have no chance. Remember, the PSSI sat down with FIFA in Qatar the other day telling their side of the story.

There have been calls for FIFA to investigate the PSSI closely. Is there any precedent for that? And again, like all these committees, it would just be a paper tiger.

There are elections this year for the top positions and the current incumbent, who has said that Indonesia's success at the AFF Cup was down to him and a certain political party. That comment alone is perhaps enough for FIFA to do something given their strong, selective, stance on political interference in football.

I'm quite interested in LPI vs PSSI as I'm an Indonesian but have been living in Europe for the past 11 years. I'm just following things on twitter basically.

I don't think FIFA will give a hoot, mainly because Indonesia is a small country in FIFA's eyes. They are ranked 126th and have not done anything worthy in world football (except going to the 1930 World Cup - before Indonesia existed).

I am sure that PSSI is corrupt and LPI is probably a good idea, it's just the amount of politicking around this is never good for Indonesian football.

It'll be interesting to see how this will pan out during the year and whether FIFA will give a flying hoot about it or not.
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