JAKARTA - Football's world governing body FIFA has written to the Indonesian government, asking the Minister of Youth and Sports to stop meddling in the running of the local football league.
A FIFA spokesperson told Reuters that if the Indonesian government did not comply with the request, FIFA could impose possible sanctions. These could include a ban from playing international competitions.
"In the said letter, FIFA informed the Minister of Youth and Sports that FIFA member associations must manage their affairs independently and without influence of any third parties as clearly stipulated in articles 13 and 17 of the FIFA Statutes," the FIFA spokesperson said.
FIFA takes a dim view of government interference in football and a ban could prevent Indonesia from participating in the qualifying tournaments for the 2018 World Cup and 2019 Asian Cup.
The new Indonesian Super League season was suspended after only two games as officials try to negotiate a deal with the government to allow two title contenders to participate after issues arose over their ownership.
The Indonesian Professional Sports Agency (BOPI), sanctioned by the Youth and Sports Ministry, wanted Persebaya Surabaya and Arema Indonesia blocked from competing but the league and football association (PSSI) ignored them.
BOPI responded by asking the police to refuse match permits for the two clubs and wrote to the PSSI this week warning them of severe penalties.
The PSSI relented on Friday, saying they will halt the league, prompting FIFA's letter to the Indonesian government.
"Accordingly, FIFA requested that Indonesian authorities refrain from interfering with PSSI affairs and allow PSSI to comply with its obligations as a member of FIFA," the spokesperson said.
"Failure to do so would leave FIFA with no other option but to refer this matter to the appropriate FIFA body to consider possible sanctions on PSSI."