Sports

FIFA very likely to hand
RI sanctions over rifts

The indefinite suspension of Indonesian soccer from international tournaments is now beckoning with the world soccer ruling body FIFA sounding its impatience with Indonesia’s rift-ridden soccer leagues.

It says it will likely impose sanctions on Indonesian soccer following an unresolved spat between two rivaling soccer organizations.

In a letter sent to Youth and Sports Minister Andi Mallarangeng, a copy of which was made available to The Jakarta Post, FIFA secretary-general Jérôme Valcke said the current situation “has come to the point where conflicts between the Indonesian Soccer Association (PSSI) and the Indonesian Soccer Rescue Committee (KPSI) have gotten out of hand and a joint committee consisting of representatives from both parties has made no significant progress”.

The joint committee has been given until Dec. 10 to resolve the key issues concerning the presence of two soccer federations, two soccer leagues and the PSSI statutes.

“The [FIFA Associations’] Committee warned that in case of failure, the case would be brought before the FIFA Executive Committee on Dec. 14, 2012, in order to determine the sanctions, which could go as far as an indefinite suspension,” Valcke said in the letter that he faxed to the minister on Nov. 26 directly from Zurich, Switzerland.

“Unfortunately yet again, it seems that the set objectives will not be reached and we, therefore, anticipate that the PSSI will be sanctioned.

“With the deadline approaching and in the current situation, we deem it important that the Indonesian authorities be made aware of the likely sanctions to be imposed on Indonesia.

“We are fully aware that Indonesia is passionate about soccer and that sanctions will have a major impact. We have tried tirelessly to solve the problems, but we are afraid that there will be no choice unless the objectives of FIFA and the AFC are met or that significant progress has been made.”

Andi did not respond to the Post’s text messages and phone calls.

Youth and Sports Ministry spokesman Amar Ahmad refused to comment on Tuesday, saying he had not seen the letter.

He said Andi was in Bali on a working trip.

In a recent interview with the Post, Andi refused to speculate on the possible FIFA sanctions, while urging the PSSI and the KPSI to immediately resolve their differences “for the unity of the nation’s soccer”.

The PSSI’s deputy secretary-general on competition, Saleh Mukadar, said the association would wait for FIFA’s final decision.

“We have reported to FIFA what we have done and how the current situation is,” he said.

“Moreover, it’s still unclear whether sanctions will be imposed on the soccer federation and, thus, a new one should be established, or to the country, which would be banned from participating in international soccer tournaments,”

Both the PSSI and the KPSI signed a memorandum of understanding in June in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, as a basis for settling their dispute.

The joint committee, which was later established to tackle the issue, has achieved nothing. In fact, three members withdrew citing their disappointment at the lack of progress.

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