SOLO - Indonesia's football
association (PSSI) elected a new head on Saturday, ending months
of a bitter leadership row and avoiding sanctions from world
governing body FIFA.
Djohar Arifin Husin, a former secretary general of the
Indonesian Sports Committee, will be the next chief of PSSI
after he defeated the other candidates in two rounds of voting.
The PSSI had been told it must hold elections or face
suspension by the game's governing body, which would have
jeopardised Indonesia's participation in the second round of
2014 World Cup Asian qualifying later this month.
"There are no sanctions so far for Indonesia. I think the
first condition of the congress is in place so we can be rather
optimistic," FIFA observer Primo Carvaro, who attended the
elections in Solo in central Java, told reporters.
FIFA Executive Committee member Prince Ali bin Al Hussein of
Jordan, Asia's vice-president on the executive, welcomed the
election result on Saturday.
In a statement from Amman he said: "All Indonesians deserve
to see their national team rising to join the champions of Asia
"I look forward to visiting Indonesia in the near future to
meet with the new PSSI leadership and discuss means of future
cooperation to develop football in Indonesia across the board."
Husin polled 61 votes after being backed by supporters of
local oil tycoon Arifin Panigoro and army general George
His nearest opponent, Agusman Effendi, got 38 votes and was
backed by supporters of former PSSI chairman Nurdin Halid.
Previous elections had failed amid chaotic scenes, and FIFA
banned both Panigoro and Toisutta from standing for chairman
because of their involvement in launching a breakaway Indonesian
League (LPI) that attracted teams from the PSSI-supported
Indonesia Super League (ISL).
FIFA appointed a normalisation committee earlier this year
to organise the election after opponents of Halid, who was
jailed in 2007 for misusing funds but continued to run the PSSI
from his cell, forced their way into PSSI elections.
"Now we must focus on moving forward and how to improve in
the future, hopefully with support from everyone," said Husin.
Indonesia, ranked 132nd by FIFA, have been drawn to play
Turkmenistan in the second round of Asian qualifying, with the
first leg to take place on July 23 in Ashgabat before the return
in Jakarta five days later.
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