The beleaguered Indonesia
Football Association (PSSI) is confident of avoiding a FIFA ban
after offering an olive branch to another breakaway football league in a new twist in the struggle for power.
The PSSI, organisers of the previously unofficial Indonesia
Premier League (LPI), told Reuters they would also recognise the
Indonesia Super League providing ISL organisers handed over
The decision came after the PSSI congress in Palangkaraya,
Borneo on Sunday but not all members attended the meeting which
world governing body FIFA had ordered to happen before Tuesday.
The Indonesia Soccer Rescue Committee (KPSI), featuring some
PSSI members, held its own conference in north Jakarta on Sunday
after growing frustrated at what it said was poor leadership by
There the KPSI elected a new PSSI leader and deputy chairman
and plan to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS)
to have them recognised as the heads of Indonesian football by
FIFA, Indonesian media outlet Kompas reported on Monday.
Despite the KPSI's actions, the PSSI's disciplinary
commission head, Bernhard Limbong, said he was "optimistic" its
moves to recognise the ISL would avoid FIFA sanctions.
"We have followed FIFA's order to hold a congress before
March 20 and we did that," Limbong told Reuters by telephone on
Monday after the Borneo meeting.
"We have also admitted Indonesia Super League, as well as
Indonesia Premier League (LPI), under PSSI, which addressed
FIFA's statute to unite the breakaway league into one single
The move could appease upset supporters of the national
team, who were humiliated 10-0 by Bahrain in their final World
Cup qualifier last month after the ISL-based players were barred
from playing because of the feud.
Last year, under the guidance of former chairman Nurdin
Halid, the PSSI was fortunate to avoid a FIFA suspension after
failing to arrange leadership elections and control the
then-unofficial LPI backed by oil tycoon Arifin Panigoro.
Halid eventually left office and was replaced in a July
election by the Panigoro-backed Djohar Arifin Husin. The LPI
then became the PSSI's recognised league.
However, Halid's former colleague Nirwan Bakrie restarted
the ISL this year, reigniting the issue, but Limbong said the
two leagues will now co-exist under the PSSI should the ISL
"So for now we have two leagues working parallel for this
season. If these leagues later disagree, we would dismiss both
leagues and form a new competition, we can call it Indonesia's
pro league or something," Limbong said.
"But we can't do it now. We are still tied with broadcasting
contract, players contracts."
However, the PSSI have other problems to address.
The KPSI elected La Nyalla Mahmud Matalitti as its PSSI
chairman on Sunday with Rahim Soekasah his deputy after saying
they had the support of the majority of the PSSI.
"Djohar Arifin is no longer recognised by two-third members
of PSSI that are here," Matalitti was quoted as saying by the
Jakarta Post on Monday.
The PSSI disputed the attendance figures at the KPNI Jakarta
meeting saying its conference in Borneo was attended by 94 of 97
While the olive branch might limit the immediate threat of
sanctions by FIFA, the football power struggle in the world's most
populated Muslim country appears a long way from concluding.
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