PSSI warn against Indonesian government plans to take over embattled body

Indonesian football's governing body will meet for its annual congress on Sunday but there's little sign of a resolution ahead of Fifa's impending deadline
Indonesia's National Sports Committee (KONI) has threatened to take over the embattled Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) if it fails to restore control of football in the South-East Asian nation by Sunday.

PSSI is currently under pressure with Fifa demanding they take control of Indonesian football by March 20, in the wake of last month's 10-0 World Cup qualifying loss to Bahrain.

Football in Indonesia is currently divided in two leagues, with the rebel Super League (ISL), which isn't recognised by the PSSI or Fifa, along with the Premier League (IPL). Only players from the IPL were allowed to play against Bahrain, meaning Indonesia fielded a weakened side.

PSSI will have its annual congress on Sunday as it seeks to restore control of football in the country, and unite the leagues, before Fifa decides to punish the organisation if the situation remains the same by its deadline.

However, now the Indonesian government wants to intervene and could potentially take over the PSSI, following meetings between KONI, PSSI and Indonesian Football Savior Committee (KPSI) officials in Jakarta on Thursday.

“We’ve been encouraging the PSSI and KPSI to reconcile and work together to improve Indonesian football. However, if they fail to do that, we have to save the sport by taking over the PSSI,” KONI chairman Toto Suratman told reporters after the meeting.

However in recent years similar events in Brunei and Iran led to Fifa suspensions due to outside forces interfering in the governing body's affairs.

PSSI deputy secretary general Hadiyandra told the Jakarta Globe: “Even the president [Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono] knows the government cannot interfere with the PSSI because then the country would be suspended by Fifa."

Ahead of Sunday's crucial congress, he added: “Our main focus is Sunday’s congress. We are still the rightful officials of the PSSI and recognized by Fifa.”

“Around 90 percent of PSSI members, including clubs playing in official leagues, have registered for the congress.”