Football: FIFA give Indonesia new deadline, fans want intervention

JAKARTA - FIFA have told Indonesia to resolve their football administration row by the end of the month or face suspension, with angry fans of local club Persija demonstrating in Jakarta and demanding president Joko Widodo intervene.

The dispute between the football association (PSSI) and the Sports and Youth Ministry over who is eligible to compete in the Indonesian Super League (ISL) escalated to the extreme last week with the PSSI cancelling the season after being suspended by the government.

World governing body FIFA, who have been monitoring the situation for weeks along with the Asian Football Confederation, wrote to the PSSI on Monday warning the Sports Ministry of an immediate suspension if they did not back down by May 29.

The letter, also sent to the National Sports Council (KONI), was from FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke, the Jakarta Post reported on Wednesday.

"In this regard, please be informed that should all actions taken by the ministry... not be withdrawn by May 29, 2015, then we will have no other option but to refer this matter to the appropriate FIFA body for an immediate suspension," Valcke was quoted as saying.

"Given the seriousness of this matter, we strongly recommend that you disseminate this correspondence to Menpora (the ministry) and KONI as a matter of urgency and strongly encourage them to find a solution."

The May 29 deadline is the same day as the FIFA presidential elections in Zurich, where incumbent Sepp Blatter is vying for a fifth term.

Despite being suspended by the government, the PSSI elected new chief La Nyalla Mattalitti last month.

La Nyalla, who attended the AFC Congress in Bahrain last week, said copies of the letter had been sent to the Indonesian Olympic Committee and President Widodo.

The Jakarta Post said La Nyalla had failed to meet the sports minister on three occasions but the PSSI head said he was determined to work towards resolving the row.

"Hopefully we can find a solution," he was quoted as saying by Indonesian news agency Antara. "If not, we will be sanctioned and we won't be able to compete in the upcoming (Southeast Asian) SEA Games... as well as the 2018 World Cup qualifying games."

The Sports Ministry want Arema Indonesian and Persebaya Surabaya blocked from competing because of ownership issues after audits of all ISL clubs. The PSSI have ignored the recommendations.

Meanwhile, the Jakarta Post reported hundreds of fans of Persija Jakarta launched a protest at the State Palace in the country's capital on Tuesday calling for Widodo to resolve the row that has simmered since last year.

"We request that the President settles this problem. I hope the President shows his concern," supporters' club leader Richard Achmad Supriyanto said.