Indonesia’s warring football associations have agreed to resolve their long-running dispute and discuss a merger, in a move that would ward off the threat of suspension by FIFA.
Djohar Arifin Husin of the FIFA-sanctioned All-Indonesia Football Association (PSSI), and La Nyalla Mataliti of the breakaway Indonesian Soccer Rescue Committee (KPSI), have agreed terms after a meeting with the country’s Youth and Sports Minister Roy Suryo. The two bodies will now meet on March 17; three days before a deadline set by world football’s governing body. “Hopefully, everything will go well and the KPSI will merge into PSSI,” said Suryo, according to the Associated Press.
However, Halim Mahfudz, secretary general of the PSSI, has moved to temper claims of a breakthrough, arguing that FIFA has left the settlement of the dispute to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). “The step was different to what the AFC told us,” Mahfudz said. “I have to consult first with AFC regarding the letter from FIFA to the sports minister.”
Indonesia at one stage had two national teams and still has two rival domestic leagues through the dispute that dates back to April 2011. The dispute has long concerned FIFA, which has threatened punishment but has offered multiple extensions to reform deadlines. “I think it was quite a Christmas or end of year gift to Indonesia that they haven’t been suspended,” president Sepp Blatter told a news conference after FIFA’s executive committee meeting in Tokyo in December extended the deadline once again.