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Indonesian president regrets fan antics

07 Sep 2011 14:30:21

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono abruptly left a World Cup qualifier against Bahrain in disgust as unruly fans ignited fireworks and lobbed bottles at the winning team, a spokesman said.

The Asian Football Confederation suspended Tuesday night's match for 15 minutes in the second half when fans lit flares and firecrackers and threw plastic bottles at the Bahrani players who had scored a second goal.

The president left the stadium in disgust at the Indonesian supporters' antics before Bahrain claimed a 2-0 victory, his office said.

"The president left the match before it ended because he disagreed with what the supporters were doing," presidential spokesman Julian Aldrin Pasha told reporters.

"Their behaviour is bad sportsmanship. We regret the incident."

Four fans were arrested and face charges of violating public order, national police spokesman Anton Bachrul Alam said.

The Indonesian Football Association could face fines of up to $1 million and the prospect of holding matches in an empty stadium, reported the Jakarta Globe, a national daily.

The international football federation, FIFA, threatened to expel Indonesia from its ranks earlier this year amid a protracted and bitter internal dispute over how the domestic competition is managed.

The Indonesian Football Association narrowly averted a stint in the FIFA wilderness when it elected a new leadership council in July under orders from the world body.

Indonesia has never qualified for the World Cup finals and the team's record is poor. The country of 240 million population is 131st in the FIFA rankings -- below Singapore and Vietnam.

It was runner-up to Malaysia in AFF Suzuki Cup last December, and was a successful co-host of the 2007 Asian Cup.

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AFP

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