Football: Indonesia bans football players, officials over own-goals

Football: Indonesia bans football players, officials over own-goals

JAKARTA - The Indonesian Football Association banned 12 players and officials who competed to score own-goals in a farcical match last month, an official told AFP Saturday.

The decision came after a video footage showed goalkeepers from PSS Sleman and PSIS Semarang making half-hearted attempts to stop shots and walking away from the goal as the ball approached during a playoff match in central Java.

The twelve people include the manager, coach and players from the two teams.

The head of the disciplinary committee of Indonesian Football Association, Hinca Panjaitan, branded it "an evil conspiracy".

"FIFA taught us to play ball to win, and they play ball to lose... If they play to lose, no need to play football," he told AFP. FIFA is the world governing body of association football.

He added that the 12 must also pay a fine, but refused to elaborate on the amount.

Local media reported that both sides had sought to lose in a bid to avoid facing Pusamania Borneo FC in the semi-finals of the Premier Division's final rounds as the team is believed to be backed by gangsters.

Panjaitan said that an investigation is ongoing for possible violations as officials looked into why the players were reluctant to play against Pusamania Borneo FC.

The match was just the latest controversy to hit the chaotic world of Indonesian football, which has been beset by numerous problems in recent years, from leadership tussles to foreign players dying after complaining of going unpaid.

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