‘Peace for our time’, say Indonesian soccer factions
JAKARTA, June 8 — Indonesia's warring soccer factions have brokered a deal to set up a new professional competition, raising hopes of an end to a prolonged crisis that had provoked sanction threats from FIFA.
Indonesian soccer has been plagued by infighting since a local oil tycoon launched a breakaway league to compete with the established Premier League competition.
World soccer governing body FIFA, having allowed the dispute to fester for over a year, set a June 15 deadline for the parties to resolve their differences or face sanctions.
The Indonesian Football Federation (PSSI), the breakaway Indonesian Super League (ISL) and the Indonesian Football Rescue Committee (KPSI) had signed a memorandum of understanding to work together and set up a new top tier professional football league, the Asian Football Confederation said.
“I am pleased to note that all the sides in Indonesia have come to an understanding and this will serve the best interests of everyone involved,” AFC acting president Zhang Jilong said in a release posted on the AFC's website (http://www.the-afc.com).
As part of the MoU, a number of former members of the PSSI's executive committee who were expelled in the factional struggles would be reinstated.
The KPSI, itself a breakaway faction including disaffected former PSSI officials, would not be allowed to hold itself out as a governing body, the AFC said.
“We are confident that the MoU meets the requirements of FIFA as all the football activities will be under the umbrella of PSSI,” AFC vice president Prince Abdullah Ibni Sultan Ahmad Shah said.
Indonesia's national team has slumped to 159th in the world rankings following years of political brawling and government interference.
The team slumped to a humiliating 10-0 World Cup qualifying defeat to Bahrain in February after a number of top players were barred from selection for playing in the breakaway league. — Reuters