JAKARTA: FIFA on Saturday suspended Indonesia after the government in Jakarta sought to oust the country’s football association, the latest crisis to hit the sport in Indonesia.
The decision means Indonesian sides will no longer be able to take part in world football, and comes less than two weeks before the country was due to begin qualifying matches for the 2018 World Cup.
The national team will, however, still be able to participate in the football tournament at the Southeast Asian Games, which is just getting under way.
The decision to suspend the association “resulted from the effective ‘take over’ of the activities of PSSI by the Indonesian authorities,” a FIFA spokesman said.
“All Indonesian national teams (national or club) are prohibited from having international sporting contact which includes participating in FIFA and AFC competitions.”
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) is one of six regional federations that make up FIFA, and the ban means Indonesia will no longer be able to participate in the AFC Cup, the region’s premier football tournament.
The row erupted in April when the Indonesian football association, the PSSI, halted the country’s top-flight league due to a disagreement with the sports ministry over the participation of two clubs.
The ministry then froze all activities of the PSSI, and said it was setting up a transitional body to replace the association, which has long faced allegations of corruption and mismanagement.
FIFA, which takes a dim view of governments interfering in domestic associations, backed the PSSI and gave Jakarta until May 29 to allow the association to resume activities, or face a ban from world football.
A series of last-ditch efforts this week to resolve the row came to nothing and the FIFA Executive Committee, meeting in Zurich on Saturday, decided to suspend the PSSI with immediate effect and bar Indonesian teams from world competition.
Sports Minister Imam Nahrawi had refused to back down in the row and in recent days expressed hope that the crisis engulfing FIFA would delay the sanction.
The ban is yet another crisis for Indonesian football, which was only just recovering from a feud between the PSSI and a breakaway association, which led to the creation of two separate leagues.