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Indonesian Football Mired in Controversy

Indonesian football continues to be mired in controversy. First, there were demonstrations against the nomination of Nurdin Halid as chair of Persatuan Sepakbola Indonesia or PSSI (Indonesian Football Association). Then a brawl resulted in the cancellation of the PSSI congress in Pekanbaru. But the most serious problem was the emergence of a breakaway football league last January: Liga Primer Indonesia or LPI (Indonesia Premier League).

LPI has a vision to make Indonesian football more professional and independent. It will not ask funds from the government.

Supporters of Indonesian football team, Persiba Bantul. Image by Flickr user Paserbumi Bantul (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Supporters of Indonesian football team, Persiba Bantul. Image by Flickr user Paserbumi Bantul (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

The PSSI recognizes the Indonesia Super League or ISL but not the LPI. In fact the PSSI cancelled the membership of the three big clubs which joined the games sponsored by LPI. It also imposed sanctions on national team members who played in the LPI competition.

Fortunately, the government through the Minister of Youth and Sports Andi Malarangeng approved the LPI competition by declaring that it does not violate the country's rules and regulations. This allowed LPI to continue with the competition; and even the police finally gave permission for the LPI games.

What are the reactions of Indonesian netizens to the power scramble among football groups and leaders?

Catatanbujangan blog reminds PSSI that Indonesia has not yet won a medal from international games:

Tahun 1991 sampai dengan sekarang Indonesia paceklik gelar. Tak ada medali emas yang berhasil diraih, bahkan pada ajang Piala Tiger yang sekarang berganti nama menjadi AFF, kita belum pernah jadi juara.

“Year 1991 up to now Indonesia had not won titles. No gold medals were achieved, even in the Tiger Cup which has been renamed ASEAN Football Federation, we have never been a champion.”

Blogger “Pustaka Langit Biru” even said that PSSI is now hit by severe chaos.

Menegpora Andi Malarangeng membekukan kepengurusan PSSI dan otomatis PSSI tidak boleh diberi anggaran oleh negara. Kubu Nurdin Halid balik menyerang Andi Malarangeng, dan meminta agar menteri itu dipecat dari jabatannya.

Minister of Youth and Sports Andi Malarangeng, freeze the stewardship of PSSI, and automatically the state can't give budget to PSSI. Nurdin Halid then returned the attack by requesting the sacking of the minister from his post.

Gresnews football reported that this case has gone international:

Dalam sebuah kolom yang dituliskan di ESPNSPORT.com, Jesse Fink menilai FIFA sebaiknya turun tangan dalam memperbaiki sepakbola Indonesia. Ini menurutnya adalah langkah untuk menyelamatkan sepakbola Indonesia.

In a column written in ESPNSPORT.com, Jesse Fink thinks that FIFA should better lend a hand in improving Indonesia's football. According to him this is the step needed to save Indonesia's football.

And at Yahoo Answers, someone asked:

“Mengapa prestasi sepakbola Indonesia sangat jelek, Padahal olahraga ini populer di Indonesia?”

Why the poor performance of Indonesian football teams, whereas this sport is popular in Indonesia?

Twitter user Slamet Nurul Anwar suggests that LPI and PSSI should work together to improve Indonesian football:

LPI dan PSSI harusnya berdampingan bukan berseberangan, kasihan rakyat rindu dengan tontonan bola nasional yang bagus dan berkualitas.”

LPI and PSSI should be side by side, not contrary. It's a pity for citizens who miss national football with qualified players and good spectacle games.

Blogger Multibrand blames the football leadership in the country

Under PSSI's above immature leadership, it is difficult to expect our football team would perform maturely thus better than they used to be..

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