Rival Indonesian football groups agree to end feud

March 17, 2013

Indonesia's two troubled football associations agreed to merge Sunday, ending a feud that had FIFA threatening to suspend the country from international competitions.

A meeting between the two organizations, held ahead of a FIFA deadline, resulted in the dissolution of the breakaway Indonesian Football Rescue Association, or KSPI, and an agreement to reconcile the country's two topflight championships next year.

Youth and Sport Minister Roy Suryo said the reconciliation agreement freed Indonesia from potential sanctions. The national team is scheduled to play an international against Saudi Arabia next Saturday.

The breakaway association's leader, La Nyalla Mattalitti, is the new deputy chairman of the FIFA-sanctioned All-Indonesia Football Association, or PSSI, which is now led by Djohar Arifin Husin.

''Now there is no more dualism,'' Husin said after the meeting, attended by about 100 participants representing the country's clubs and local associations.

Nearly 500 police were deployed to safeguard the meeting held at the upscale Borobudur Hotel in the capital, Jakarta.

The feud over control of the sport by two politically connected business factions had left Indonesia with two leagues, two national teams and scandals involving players not being paid.

The dispute broke out in 2011, when Husin was elected chairman. He immediately expelled associates of his predecessor, Nurdin Halid.

The former members set up the rival body, which was supported by some of the country's clubs, and ran the unauthorized league.

Sunday's meeting also set up the merger of the country's two leagues after the completion of their current competitions, expected to end next year.

PSSI runs the Indonesian Premier League, which has four clubs, while KPSI has 18 clubs under its Indonesian Super League.

Husin said six members of the executive committee were fired after walking out of the meeting in protest.