Indonesia's government threatened
to take over the country's football association as the bitter
infighting over a breakaway league rages on, local media
reported on Friday.
FIFA has threatened to sanction Indonesia unless the
football association (PSSI) restores order and unifies the rebel
Indonesia Super League with the national league by March 20.
Government interference risks inflaming the situation still
But the National Sports Committee (KONI) has said it will
take over the beleagured PSSI if it fails to end months of chaos
by the weekend, the Jakarta Globe newspaper said.
"KONI is the sports authority in the country and we have a
duty to make sure sports development, including football, runs
smoothly," said chairman Tono Suratman.
"We've been encouraging the PSSI and KPSI to reconcile and
work together to improve Indonesian football.
"However, if they fail to do that, we have to save the sport
by taking over the PSSI."
The PSSI has been plagued by prolonged infighting and has
been blamed for the national team's humiliating 10-0 defeat by
Bahrain in their World Cup qualifier last month.
Indonesia were forced to field an inexperienced side after
FIFA banned them from picking players from the rebel Indonesian
Super League (ISL), which the PSSI has refused to recognise.
A reconciliation attempt between the warring factions on
Wednesday drew a blank after only one club from the ISL turned
up at a meeting at a Jakarta hotel.
PSSI deputy secretary general Hadiyandra warned of the
possibility of sanctions if KONI went ahead with its plan.
"Even the president [Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono] knows the
government cannot interfere with the PSSI because then the
country would be suspended by FIFA," he said.
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