FIFA holds talks with Indonesian president on solving football crisis

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FIFA Joko Widodo

officials have met ’s president Joko Widodo on Monday for crisis talks after the country’s football federation () was banned from international competition.

The meeting in Jakarta was attended by a delegation led by FIFA Executive Committee member Kohzo Tashima and also including Prince Abdullah and Mariano Araneta, who is on the Executive Committee of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

FIFA stepped in to ban the Southeast Asian nation in May after a long running row between the government and the PSSI, tried to replace the local football federation following the allegations of corruption and mismanagement.

“I conveyed to the delegation that we want to get a solution immediately and to form a task force which will communicate continuously with Fifa,” Joko Widodo, known as Jokowi told reporters.

“They were happy to see there was no flexing of muscles and that we wanted a solution, too.”

The dispute between government and PSSI erupted in April when the PSSI halted the country’s top flight league due to a disagreement with the sports ministry over the participation of two clubs, Persebaya Surabaya and Arema Cronus.

Issues concerning the ownership of both teams had arisen and the Indonesian Professional Sports Agency (BOPI), sanctioned by the sports ministry, wanted the two teams blocked from playing. Imam Nahrawi as the ministry then responded by freezing all PSSI activities and setting up a transitional body to begin replacing the association.

“The Government is very concerned about reforming Indonesian football,” said Imam. “There have been clear indications, and in fact confessions, about match-fixing, gambling, delayed salary payments and clubs flouting Fifa statutes relating to financial transparency, taxes and rules.”

“It was apparent that FIFA, AFC, PSSI and the Government are of the common view that Indonesia is a high potential football country and that reforms are needed to maximise their potential,” added FIFA in a statement.

“The President of the Republic of Indonesia understood that any reform must occur under the auspices of the FIFA Statutes, but the Government is welcomed as a stakeholder in the reform.”

Further talks are planned on Tuesday, when FIFA meet with other key Indonesian football stakeholders including Indonesian Players’ Association (APPI) and PT Liga Indonesia before holding a final meeting with PSSI.