Rival Indonesian football leagues to resolve row

20 February 2013 04:46

Two rival football federations in Indonesia have promised to resolve their differences to avoid looming FIFA sanctions which include a ban on playing international matches.

Football in Southeast Asia's biggest nation has been mired in scandal for the past two years, with the competing administrations angering the game's world body by running separate leagues and failing to meet several deadlines to unite.

"FIFA sent a letter to the sports minister, urging progress before the deadline of March 20," Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) official Rudolf Yesayas told AFP.

"We had a meeting with the (rival) KPSI and sports minister on Monday night, and we agreed to work out all our differences at an upcoming congress on March 17."

The rift began in 2011 when PSSI expelled four of its members, who then went on to start a rebel league called the Indonesian Soccer Rescue Committee (KPSI), splitting the nation's best teams.

KPSI told its players not to make themselves available for the national team, hitting Indonesia's chances on the international stage.

The rival federations signed a memorandum of understanding to resolve the conflict in Kuala Lumpur last June but failed to come to an agreement before a deadline of December 15.

FIFA's executive body extended that deadline, which President Sepp Blatter described as a "Christmas gift".

He added that if the new date was missed Indonesia would be barred from international matches and would lose financial assistance from FIFA.

The PSSI has been in hot water with FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation in recent years over poor management, corruption allegations, leadership tussles and poor security at major matches.

Outrage at the poorly regulated sport in the country was sparked in December when Paraguayan Diego Mendieta, who had not been paid for months by his KPSI club and could not afford medical treatment, died from a viral infection.

Source: AFP