Football: Indonesia Ordered to Stop Breakaway League
Asian football’s governing body has said Indonesia must put a stop to a breakaway league by March 22 or face suspension from world football, an official said on Sunday.
Indonesian football was plunged into disarray in November when the breakaway league, Liga Super, was revived, triggering a row with the official Liga Prima.
Alex Soosay, general secretary of the Malaysian-headquartered Asian Football Confederation, said the sport’s world governing body FIFA had given Indonesia’s football association until March 22 “to put their house in order.”
The Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) is due to hold a yearly congress on March 18, and the AFC hopes it will use the meeting to resolve the crisis.
“If they don’t get together, the whole Indonesian football federation is liable to be suspended. It would be a blanket suspension for Indonesia,” Soosay told AFP.
Soosay said the scheduled congress was a “positive sign.”
“If they comply, then everything is back to normal,” he said.
A suspension could mean that those who play for Indonesian clubs, such as Malaysian striker Mohamad Safee Sali, risk being banned from playing in international matches.
Mohamad Safee plays for Indonesian club Pelita Jaya FC, which is in the breakaway league.
He made headlines in Malaysia this week when he reportedly signed a new two-year contract worth more than 2 million ringgit ($700,000), becoming Malaysia’s first football millionaire.
Azzuddin Ahmad, general secretary of the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM), told AFP that Mohamad Safee could play for Malaysia as long as there was no directive from FIFA or AFC.
PSSI fined several clubs late last year for joining the rebel league.
Players have effectively been barred from the national team, with the PSSI citing FIFA’s rules as saying players from unofficial leagues cannot represent their country in international events.