Indonesian football leadership consistently let down fans and players, according to one commentator. (Antara Photo/Agus Bebeng)

Sports Ministry Accepts Footbal Suspension, but Questions FIFA's 'Grammatical Errors'

MAY 31, 2015

Several students from Forum Mahasiswa Bandung hold a rally in front of Bandung's Mayor office on May 25 to show their support for the Sports Ministry in the power struggle between the ministry and the Indonesian Football Association (PSSI). Antara Photo/Agus Bebeng

Jakarta. With world football's governing body FIFA finally slapping a ban on Indonesia, the Sports Ministry announced it is taking responsibility for the sanction.

In a statement released on Sunday, the ministry claimed the government was not ignorant and would take strategic moves as a consequence of the suspension.

“The Sports Ministry will be working with several institutions to improve the blue print of national football development in order to achieve the grand design, which is more comprehensive, transparent and objective, in accordance with our target to improve national football's performance,” the statement said.

FIFA said government meddling in the Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) violated articles 13 and 17 of the FIFA Statutes. The sanction means Indonesian clubs and nationals are not allowed to take part in FIFA and AFC competitions, though it extended an exception for the national under-23 side, allowing the side to take part in the 2015 Southeast Asian Games in June.

The ministry continued to deny allegations that it had intervened with PSSI, insisting it had only made attempts to improve the performance of Indonesian football.

It also slammed FIFA for alleged errors in the football body's timeline of events and grammar.

“There were some infelicities and grammatical errors in FIFA's letter, which brings to question FIFA's credibility in its crucial decision-making [process] about the fate of one of its members,” the ministry said.

The ministry also urged all national football stakeholders to remain calm as competitions sanctioned by a transitional teams would soon kick off.

“We also hope PSSI could address the sanction from FIFA in a wise and objective manner. There's no need to blame the government because we are cooperating and choosing to face the unfortunate event. PSSI, the ministry and the Indonesian Olympic Committee [KOI] should work together to retract the sanction.”

In its letter, FIFA stated that the suspension would be lifted once the elected PSSI executive committee was able to manage the association's affairs independently and without influence from third parties, including the Sports Ministry or its agencies.

FIFA also mandated PSSI to regain its authority on all national teams and competitions in order to lift the suspension.

Meanwhile, head coach of the national under-16 and under-19 side, Fakhri Husaini, expressed his disappointment over FIFA's decision.

“To be honest, I'm resigned, sad and disappointed to hear about the suspension from [assistant coach] Rasimin and [head coach of the national senior team] Pieter Huistra,” Fakhri said on Saturday.

“I couldn't imagine the boys' reaction as they won't be able to play in the AFF Championship. They have trained and prepared themselves for almost a year.”

The under-16 side will play in the 2015 AFF U-16 Championship in Solo, Central Java, from July 27 to Aug. 9, while the under-19 side will take part in the 2015 AFF U-19 Championship in Sidoarjo, East Java, from Aug. 22 to Sept. 4.

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