Indonesian leagues sign truce

The Asian Football Confederation said Friday it had brokered a deal between the sport's rival administrations in Indonesia, a week before a FIFA-imposed deadline for the squabbling to stop.

The latest drama in Indonesia's football ignited in December when long-standing rivals of the Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) kicked off a breakaway top-tier league and divided Indonesian clubs.

FIFA has imposed a June 15 deadline for the country to unite its clubs under one administration or face suspension from the world body.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) said in a statement that a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the rival administrations was signed Thursday in Kuala Lumpur.

"This is the start of a new chapter in Indonesian football and an opportunity to put personal differences and politics aside for the sake of football," AFC vice-president HRH Prince Abdullah Ibni Sultan Ahmad Shah said.

Under the agreement, a PSSI committee will create a new top-tier league and the breakaway Indonesian Football Rescue Committee (KPSI) will not be recognised as an administrator. However, four KPSI members will be reinstated to the PSSI.

The agreement allows for the Liga Super, the rival to the official Liga Prima, to continue, but under the PSSI's administration.

"We are confident that the MoU meets the requirements of FIFA as all the football activities will be under the umbrella of PSSI," Shah said.

But the crisis may be far from over: in Jakarta, PSSI officials held an emergency meeting Friday to discuss the development, saying their representatives signed the MoU but they themselves never agreed to it in full.

"Of course, we are happy that the Liga Super will come under the PSSI, but we never agreed for the KPSI members to be reinstated to our association," PSSI official Rudolf Yesayas told AFP.

"There are a lot of officials here at this meeting, and I can tell you a lot of us are very, very unhappy."

The PSSI has been in hot water with the AFC and FIFA in recent years over corruption allegations, leadership tussles and poor safety at matches that have seen fans killed or badly injured in brawls.

The governing bodies have in the past threatened the country with sanctions, including kicking the national team out of international competition.

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