FIFA, AFC meet with Indonesian president

I don’t feel sad, I feel happy – Torres on retirement

Indonesian President Joko Widodo met with FIFA and Asian Football Confederation officials on Monday to discuss lifting the suspension placed on the Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI).

The aim of the meeting, which was led by FIFA Executive Committee member Kohzo Tashima, was to find a solution to the ongoing crisis within Indonesian football. The discussions come six months after the the country was banned from international competitions after the government attempted to replace the PSSI, which has been accused of corruption and mismanagement.

In order to resolve the issue, Widodo has said he will be creating a task force, which will be in constant contact with FIFA. 

"I conveyed to the delegation … that we want to get a solution immediately and to form a task force which will communicate continuously with FIFA," Widodo told reporters. "They were happy to see there was no flexing of muscles and that we wanted a solution, too."

Tensions between the PSSI and the Indonesian government broke down in April after the Indonesian Super League season was suspended following a row between both parties over the participation of two clubs, Persebaya Surabaya and Arema Indonesia.

The Indonesian Professional Sports Agency, who are sanctioned by the Sports Ministry, wanted both teams banned as they had concerns about the owners of the clubs,

However, once the PSSI opposed this move, the government began preparing to replace them with a transitional body that they had set up. 

The six-man FIFA delegation, which also includes AFC Executive Committee member Mariano Araneta, has now met with Sports Minister Imam Nahrawi and PSSI officials to break the deadlock between the two parties.

"The government is very concerned about reforming Indonesian football," Nahrawi said. " There have been clear indications, and in fact confessions, about match-fixing, gambling, delayed salary payments and clubs flouting FIFA statutes relating to financial transparency, taxes and rules."

FIFA have called on both parties have to put their differences aside soon as Indonesian football will continue to suffer if they fail to end the impasse. 

"It was apparent that FIFA, AFC, PSSI and the Government are of the common view that Indonesia is a high potential football country and that reforms are needed to maximise their potential," a FIFA statement said. "The President of the Republic of Indonesia understood that any reform must occur under the auspices of the FIFA Statutes, but the Government is welcomed as a stakeholder in the reform.

"The President of the Republic of Indonesia expressed his sincere concern about the affairs of Indonesian football and reiterated his commitment to the development of the game. The delegation would like to express their sincere gratitude to all parties, including the President of the Republic for the productive meeting."

Further talks are expected to take place on Tuesday.