KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – The two rival factions that are set to land Indonesia a FIFA suspension this week have only got themselves to blame for the mess, AFC executive committee member Prince Ali bin Al Hussein said on Tuesday.
The Indonesian football federation (PSSI) failed to hold a congress
attended by the rival Indonesian Soccer Rescue Committee (KPSI) on
Monday, a deadline set by FIFA, with the world governing body set to
punish the Southeast Asians at its executive committee meeting in Japan
If, as expected, Indonesia are suspended it will close a chapter, but
not the story, on a turbulent period of football governance in one of
the world’s most populated countries.
At one point, the country had two national teams and still has two
domestic leagues with players blocked from competing in the other, but
the comical nature of the events took a serious turn with the death of
Paraguayan striker Diego Mendieta from a viral infection last week.
Mendieta died in hospital awaiting four months’ wages from his former
club Persis Solo, who play in the KPSI-run league, with the PSSI
refusing to help cover the debt as they did not recognise the league.
FIFA vice-president and AFC executive committee member Prince Ali
believes the pair should have patched up their differences long ago.
"I have seen how important football is to the people of Indonesia and
this issue has to be sorted out," Prince Ali told Reuters in Kuala
Lumpur on Tuesday after the signing of a memorandum of understanding
agreement with European counterpart UEFA.
"You cannot have two leagues in one country and that is a fundamental issue that has to be resolved.
"We have tried our best with the task force the AFC has set up, it is
trying its best to do this but this horrible tragedy with the death of
this player is just another example of why this issue has to be sorted
out and sorted out immediately."
The PSSI has agreed to pay to fly Mendieta’s body back to his family
in South America but the damage of the duo’s squabbling has affected
The PSSI and KPSI had looked set to bury the past after signing a
memorandum of understanding in June at the headquarters of the Asian
Football Confederation where they agreed to run one league next season
and hold a congress by December 10.
But in what has become common practice, the PSSI held a congress in a
hotel in Central Kalimantan on Monday while the KPSI held its at the
same time in Jakarta, local media reported.
Prince Ali, also the head of Jordanian football, said the two groups had forgotten their mandate.
"I think all the stakeholders in football need to realise that if
they want to serve their people they have to sort out their differences
and we will be discussing the situation in Tokyo during the FIFA Exco,"
the Jordanian added.
"I think all stakeholders now have to take it very seriously.
Obviously the only people that will suffer from it will be the people
who love the sport."