Indonesian FA suspended by FIFA for government meddling

ZURICH (Reuters) - The Indonesian Football Association has been suspended by football’s world governing body FIFA because of government meddling in the Southeast Asian country’s domestic league.

The ban means Indonesia will be ineligible to compete in the next round of qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup and 2019 Asian Cup, starting on June 11, unless they meet FIFA’s demands.

However, FIFA did allow Indonesia’s national team to continue playing at the Southeast Asian Games in Singapore because the tournament has already started.

“The Executive decided to suspend the Indonesia Football Association (PSSI) with immediate effect and until the PSSI would be able to comply with its obligations under arts. 13 and 17 of the FIFA Statutes,” FIFA announced on Saturday.

“This decision resulted from the effective “take over” of the activities of PSSI by the Indonesian authorities.

“However, and as an exceptional measure, the national team would be allowed to continue their current participation in the 2015 Southeast Asian Games.”

The dispute between the PSSI and the Sports and Youth Ministry is over which teams are eligible to compete in the Indonesian Super League (ISL).

An administrative court in Jakarta has scheduled a June 8 hearing to try and resolve the row, which has led to the cancelling of the domestic football season after the ministry suspended PSSI.

The Indonesian Professional Sports Agency (BOPI), sanctioned by the ministry, wanted Persebaya Surabaya and Arema Indonesia teams blocked from playing but PSSI resisted.

FIFA takes a dim view of government interference in football affairs and threatened Indonesia with a ban, saying only the PSSI was recognised to make decisions.

Indonesia was given until May 29 to resolve the problem but when the deadline passed, FIFA’s executive committee invoked the suspension.

Indonesia are scheduled to play Taiwan on June 11 and Iraq five days later in matches that double as qualifiers for the next World and Asian Cups.

Reporting by Julian Linden; editing by Justin Palmer/Sudipto Ganguly