Friday, February 26, 2016


Government Lays Down Three Conditions Before PSSI Suspension Lifted

Things have been moving regarding Indonesian football's current mess. Recent meetings between the president and the sports minister have seen the government put forward three conditions before they lift their suspension of PSSI, the first step perhaps towards FIFA allowing Indonesia back into the international fold.

The government initially withdrew recognistion of the PSSI last April. The move followed recommendations from the sports organising body BOPI that two clubs, Arema and Persebaya, be banned from competing in the 2015 Indonesia Super League season citing ongoing concerns over their ownership. The ISL ignored the recommendations and the season began as planned but games were soon cancelled as local authorities refused to release security clearance for games to be played.

FIFA told the PSSI they and they alone were responsible for football in Indonesia but they were powerless to act and they were soon suspended by the world governing body. The ISL was cancelled and Indonesia were banned from entering the World Cup/AFC Cup Qualifiers die to start later in the year.

Following a meeting between the president and the Youth and Sports Ministry the latter is now drawing up a list of conditions the PSSI must fulfil before the government recognises FIFA again.

First, PSSI needs to be in constant communication with the government over their running of football in the country. How FIFA reacts to that will be of interest considering their fear and loathing of any kind of government interference in their beautiful game.

It was PSSI inability to stand up to the government in the first place that saw FIFA finally impose the ultimate sanction last year following several years of mismanagement and serial incompetence. Allegations of match fixing and non payment of players' salaries and having the head of the PSSI behind bars twice were ignored by FIFA but once they felt the government was impinging on PSSI autonomy they felt the need to get involved.

The second condition requires the PSSI to be accountable and transparent while the third is a demand for an extraordinary congress to set up a new organisational structure.

Meet those conditions and the government would consider recognising PSSI and add weight to demands for the body to be let back into the FIFA family but the road ahead won't be smooth. There have been congresses in the recent past but little changes as football's ruling family has consolidated its hold not just at national level but more crucially at provincial level which is where the race for the top spots is fought.

There is some urgency creeping into the talks. In 2018 Indonesia is slated to host the Asian Games and of course it would be kind of embarrassing if they were not allowed to enter a team in the football competition. Mind, that decision isn't without controversy with concerns in Indonesia about the slow pace of development on facilities for the multi sports competition.

FIFA of course have their own issues with elections for a new gaffer to replace Sepp Blatter but it is unclear how any decisions made in Zurich will impact Indonesia's suspension and its lifting.

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