In this photo, FIFA President Joseph Blatter attends a press conference following the meeting of the football association's executive committee in Zurich. — AFP/File

In this photo, FIFA President Joseph Blatter attends a press conference following the meeting of the football association’s executive committee in Zurich. — AFP/File

JAKARTA:(AFP) FIFA has ordered the Indonesian government to revoke its decision to freeze all activities of the country’s football association by the end of the month or face suspension from international football.

The ultimatum was the latest twist in a row that erupted in April when the 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 as a step towards replacing the association.

FIFA has backed the PSSI, which insists it remains in charge of football in Indonesia as the government has no authority, and the world governing body’s secretary general Jerome Valcke has now demanded that Jakarta revoke its move.

In a letter cited widely by local media, Valcke said the government’s actions had violated FIFA rules stating that all football associations have to manage their affairs independently, without influence from third parties.

If authorities do not comply with FIFA’s demand by May 29, “we will have no other option but to refer this matter to the appropriate FIFA body for an immediate suspension”, said the letter.

The PSSI confirmed that the association had received the FIFA letter on Monday, and on Tuesday attempted to hand it to the sports minister, but the minister has yet to accept it.

Association chief La Nyala Mattalitti warned that a FIFA ban would mean Indonesia’s exclusion from competitions including the Southeast Asian Games in June and the Asian Football Confederation Cup.

Despite the suspension, PSSI sought to restart the top-flight league, the Indonesian Super League, at the end of April but failed to do so after the police refused to issue match permits.

A suspension would be a huge setback for Indonesian football, which is only just recovering from a long-running feud between the PSSI and a breakaway association which led to the creation of two rival leagues.

FIFA also threatened to ban Indonesia over that row. The two sides eventually overcame their differences and merged, avoiding sanctions.

Weak management, corruption, poor security at games, and high-profile cases of foreign players dying after going unpaid have also cast a shadow over football in the world’s fourth-most populous country.

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