Football: World footballers' union critical of Indonesian impasse

Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) chief La Nyalla Mattalitti (4th left) standing with new officials of the PSSI following his election in Surabaya, East Java province. -- PHOTO: AFP  
Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) chief La Nyalla Mattalitti (4th left) standing with new officials of the PSSI following his election in Surabaya, East Java province. -- PHOTO: AFP  

JAKARTA (REUTERS) - World players' union FifPro has criticised the "dearth" of good football governance in Indonesia that has led to the cancellation of the domestic league and urged all parties to work urgently to resolve the long-running row.

The Youth and Sports Ministry opted to suspend the Indonesia Football Association (PSSI) last month after growing tired at its recommendations to have two clubs banned from competing because of ownership issues ignored.

The PSSI opted to cancel the season last week after the government blocked its attempts to restart the suspended 18-team league and the body has been emboldened by Fifa.

The world governing body has said it will suspend the country from all international competitions if the government does not back down and allow the PSSI to independently operate by May 29, the same day as the Fifa presidential election.

FifPro, which offered to help resolve the row, said the posturing was not helpful and actual solutions were required.

"It is high time for people to start intervening seriously and create pragmatic solutions instead of simply reciting Fifa statutes which, in our view, have been applied very ineffectively for a long period of time", FifPro Asia chairman Brendan Schwab said in a statement.

"These problems need a structural solution. Years have been wasted by stakeholders' unwillingness to put their conflicts of interest aside, instead of solidly collaborating in laying the foundations for running a highly professional league."

The government's recommendations to block Arema Indonesia and Persebaya Surabaya came after an audit of all clubs following years of problems. Only five clubs received an all-clear from the ministry earlier this year.

FifPro said that "a large amount" of players had suffered for too long because of clubs being unwilling to pay player's salaries, "often waiting for many months".

FifPro added it was also aware of numerous players who had suffered unfair contract terminations in the country and said others had been held in immigration detention because visas were not properly updated.

"The players in Indonesia want to take a neutral stance. Of course they would like the leagues to proceed," Schwab said.

"But they also have great sympathy with the stance taken by the government, which is to ensure that the leagues have the proper legal structure and obligations to players are met.

"There are millions of football fans in Indonesia, where stadiums are often packed. These fans want football to succeed and so do the players. It is time that the bodies in charge of organising football also show a similar commitment."