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FIFA holds crisis talks with Indonesian president

FIFA holds crisis talks with Indonesian president
FIFA holds crisis talks with Indonesian president


Indonesian President Joko Widodo
Indonesian President Joko Widodo

Indonesian President Joko Widodo met with FIFA officials in Jakarta for crisis talks on Monday, almost six months after soccer's governing body banned his country from international competitions.

Indonesia was suspended in May after the government attempted to replace the national soccer federation, known as PSSI, at the height of a long-running feud.

The government insisted that tackling the PSSI, which has long been the subject of allegations of corruption and mismanagement, was a necessary step to clean up Indonesian football, which has been plagued by crises for years.

FIFA responded by suspending the PSSI and banning Indonesia from all international competitions organized by FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation, one of six regional federations that make up the world football body.

Widodo, who was hosting the FIFA meeting at the state palace, said he would form a working group to quickly break the deadlock.

“I conveyed to the delegation… that we want to find a solution immediately and form a working group that will communicate continuously with FIFA,” Widodo told reporters.

“They were happy to see that there was no muscle flexing and that we also wanted a solution.”

The row erupted in April when the PSSI, at odds with the country's sports ministry over the participation of two clubs, halted Indonesia's premier league.

The ministry responded by freezing all PSSI activities and creating a transition body to begin replacing the association.

FIFA, which disapproves of political interference in national associations, supported the PSSI, which insisted it remained responsible for football in Indonesia.

The six-man FIFA delegation also met Sports Minister Imam Nahrawi and PSSI officials on Monday to discuss resolving the impasse.

Nahrawi said the meeting was “very valuable” and that the visitors offered a “very friendly and constructive response”.

“The government is very concerned about the reform of Indonesian football,” he told reporters.

“There have been clear indications, and indeed admissions, of match-fixing, gambling, delays in salary payments and clubs flouting FIFA statutes relating to financial transparency, taxes and the rules.”

A FIFA press conference is expected on Tuesday.




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