Indonesian football votes for change

JAKARTA • Indonesian football's ruling body voted yesterday for a total clear-out of its top ranks following a year-long Fifa ban, as the government vowed for complete reform of the crisis-wracked sport.

Football in South-east Asia's biggest nation has been in crisis after a row between the sports ministry and the country's football association led to world governing body Fifa handing down a ban for government meddling in May last year.

The domestic league ground to a halt and Indonesia could not compete in international tournaments in just the latest crisis to hit Indonesian football in recent years.

Fifa lifted the suspension in May after the government ended a freeze on the activities of the PSSI, the game's ruling body in Indonesia, which stemmed from a row over which clubs should participate in the top league.

After an extraordinary PSSI congress in Jakarta yesterday, sports ministry spokesman Gatot Dewa Broto said: "Total reform is a must.

"We have no other choice. If not now, then when will we ever move forward?"

The PSSI's members voted at the congress to replace all 15 executive committee members, including president La Nyalla Mattalitti, at an election to be held on Oct 17.

Mattalitti has been arrested over a corruption scandal unconnected to the football body and is awaiting trial.

The government had insisted it was trying to clean up the scandal-plagued PSSI when it became locked in a row with the body that eventually led to the Fifa suspension.

The congress was attended by a representative from Fifa and the Asian Football Confederation, the football governing body in Asia.

Football has been dogged by problems for years in the country, from the creation of a breakaway association that tore the football establishment apart, to cases of foreign players dying after going unpaid and being unable to afford medical treatment.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 04, 2016, with the headline 'Indonesian football votes for change'. Print Edition | Subscribe