Indonesia fines breakaway clubs
Indonesia's football association has fined eight clubs for joining a rebel league, an official said Wednesday, in a row that has seen the country's top club expelled from international competition.
Indonesian football was plunged into chaos last month by the breakaway of 18 clubs from the official top-tier Liga Prima, accredited by the Indonesian Football Association (PSSI), to revive the rival Liga Super.
International football body FIFA has already intervened in Indonesia once this year, forcing the PSSI to elect a new leadership following chronic infighting.
The PSSI's diciplinary committee chief Catur Agus Saptono said Persib Bandung, who have played in the new competition, were fined one billion rupiah ($110,000) while seven other defectors were given 500 million rupiah penalties.
"Persib Bandung played in our competition and received revenue-sharing benefits, but they now play for the other league. They are showing bad sportsmanship," Saptono said.
The other seven teams fined were Mitra Kukar, Persisam Samarinda, Persela Lamongan, Persiba Balikpapan, PSPS Pekanbaru, Deltras Sidoarjo and Pelita Jaya Karawang.
The eight clubs will be relegated to the second division if they come back to the Liga Prima, Saptono said.
Last season's Liga Prima winners Persipura Jayapura were expelled from the Asian Champions League, the continent's top club tournament, last week for taking part in the breakaway, but were not among those fined by the PSSI.
The PSSI also sanctioned two top officials of the rebel league, banning them from any involvement in soccer-related activities for three years and fining them 150 million rupiah each.
"We had to sanction them because the encouraged teams to join the Liga Super. They claimed to be president-director and commissioner of an official league," said Saptono.
National under-23 football team coach Rahmad Darmawan tendered his resignation Tuesday amid the turmoil, complaining that "the players are those who bear the brunt" of the quarrel.
Liga Super players have effectively been barred from the national team, with the PSSI citing FIFA's rules as saying players from unofficial leagues cannot represent their country in international events.
Indonesia co-hosted the 2007 Asian Cup, but its national team's record is poor.
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