FIFA Awards Indonesia Three-Month Extension To Get 'House In Order'
FIFA President Sepp Blatter described the organization's decision to grant Indonesia an extension to solve its football crisis as a "Christmas gift," urging the nation to get its "house in order," according to the AFP. Football in Indonesia has been "in turmoil for the past two years" because of a row between the Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) and its rival the Indonesian Soccer Rescue Committee (KPSI). FIFA had given PSSI a Dec. 10 deadline to "reconcile its differences" with KPSI, which runs a rebel league splitting the nation's top teams, but the regulator's exec committee on Friday "extended the deadline by three months." Blatter said, "It has been two years now, two years that they have tried to put together the two parts of the football organizations, but they couldn't do it. They have asked for another three months to be given, until March next year, and also the Asian Football Confederation was advocating that. I think it was quite a Christmas gift to Indonesia that they haven't been suspended" (AFP, 12/15). The JAKARTA POST reported that FIFA had initially given Dec. 10 as the deadline for the conflicting parties to stage a national congress to settle key issues, including the existence of two separate soccer leagues and federations, a review of PSSI statutes and the reinstatement of four expelled executive committee members: La Nyalla, Tony Apriliani, Erwin Dwi Budiawan and Roberto Rouw. However, both parties "staged separate national congresses on Monday, with the PSSI deciding to reinstate the four committee members but only if the four delivered apologies to the association within a month." The four members were expelled from the committee last year for "ethical violations." La Nyalla had previously said he would never apologize to the PSSI (JAKARTA POST, 12/14). REUTERS reported the deadlock prompted intervention from exasperated government officials in a bid to restore order and Blatter "made no bones about the fact Indonesia was walking a tightrope." Blatter said, "It was time, in my opinion, to say 'stop it now', but the executive committee was of the opinion to give them three more months." Indonesia faces being "booted out of all int'l competition, its referees also becoming ineligible, while FIFA would also cut its financial assistance to the PSSI" (REUTERS, 12/16).