FIFA offers Indonesia second chance

JAKARTA, May 31, 2011 (AFP) - FIFA has offered the Indonesian Football Association a second chance to elect new leadership after a vote was abandoned in chaotic scenes earlier this month, an official said Tuesday.

The Indonesian football body, also known as the PSSI, has been in crisis for months over how to organise the game in the perennially underperforming nation of 240 million people.

"We are very happy with FIFA's decision to give Indonesia a second chance to hold a congress before June 30. They've been kind to us," PSSI spokesman Tubagus Adhi said.

"If we fail to do so this time, there will be no more mercy from FIFA."

Most officials had expected football's global governing body to sanction Indonesia by banning it from international matches after the PSSI failed to meet a May 21 deadline to elect new leadership.

A vote on May 20 descended into acrimonious rancour between supporters of rival camps, forcing a FIFA-appointed normalisation committee to call off the election.

Indonesian football is divided between an old guard of long-standing PSSI leaders and "reformers" backing the breakaway Indonesian Premier League, founded earlier this year by oil tycoon Arifin Panigoro.

In an effort to bring the crisis under control, FIFA has banned Panigoro, army chief of staff George Toisutta and former PSSI chairman Nurdin Halid, who is tainted by corruption, from running for the leadership ballot.

Indonesia were runners-up to Malaysia in Southeast Asia's AFF Suzuki Cup last December, and were successful co-hosts of the 2007 Asian Cup, but the national team's record is poor.

Indonesia is 130th in the FIFA rankings -- below Ethiopia and Yemen -- and has never made the World Cup finals.

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