Indonesia needs strong leadership with a sense of nationalism to end the prolonged conflict of legitimacy overshadowing national soccer, a discussion forum concluded in Jakarta on Thursday.
A congress will be held on Sunday at Hotel Borobudur to bring the two rival soccer bodies to talks in hopes of averting possible sanctions by the world’s soccer governing body FIFA although the buildup to the event has been marred by an issue over the list of eligible voters.
“We have no other choice because that’s the only way Indonesian soccer can avoid sanctions from the soccer’s ruling body FIFA,” soccer observer Tommy Welly said in a forum organized by Jakarta-based sports journalists’ association SIWO PWI Jaya.
Other speakers at the discussion included head of the Soccer Coaches Association Gatot Hario Tedjo, lawmakers Utut Adianto and Dedi Gumelar, both from Commission X overseeing sports at the House of Representatives.
They agreed that the upcoming congress hosted by the Indonesian Soccer Association (PSSI) should be the last chapter in the soccer conflict.
FIFA has urged the long-standing PSSI and the breakaway Indonesian Soccer Rescue Committee (KPSI) to settle the conflict, which has resulted in the formation of a rival premier league, or Indonesia will be banned from all competitions under FIFA.
In its last extraordinary congress in Surakarta in July 2011, which was held following the removal of Nurdin Halid from his position as PSSI chairman due to his alleged involvement in a corruption case, Djohar Arifin Husin was elected the new chairman, but some congress participants objected to the decision. Disgruntled members then formed KPSI and elected La Nyalla Matta-litti as chairman.
Under Djohar’s leadership, the contract of national team coach Alfred Riedl was terminated before the due date and the number of clubs in the main division was increased to 24 from the previous 18 clubs. The six additional clubs were regarded by many as illegitimate due to the fact that they either had been relegated or were not even members of PSSI.
Gatot said that Indonesian soccer had been damaged by people who did not understand the basics of
Dedi urged the two conflicting parties to prioritize the national interest to better develop Indonesian soccer.