Indonesian football fans gather at PSSI congress in support of a corruption-free league

Demonstrators outside the PSSI Congress yesterday. Photo: Facebook/Persija Lovers Indonesia
Demonstrators outside the PSSI Congress yesterday. Photo: Facebook/Persija Lovers Indonesia

Yesterday’s Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) congress at the Sofitel Hotel in Nusa Dua saw hundreds of Indonesian football fans hold a peaceful demonstration in favor of a corruption-free national league.

Supporters representing 14 different soccer teams showed up to voice their approval for the anti football mafia task force, an authority set up by the national police to target the problems of match-fixing and bribery within the league. Security kept a close eye on the supporters throughout the day, and prohibited them from entering the building, according to a report by Bali Post.

During the congress, Edy Rahmayadi, the chair of the PSSI, announced his resignation, handing his leadership over to the Deputy Chair, Joko Driyono.

“For the future of the PSSI, I am resigning as chairman,” he was reported as saying by Indonesian news website

Rahmayadi, who was elected chair of the scandal-plagued PSSI in 2016, admitted some failings under his leadership, local media reported.

On hearing the news of Rahmayadi’s decision to step down, one fan, identified as “Mimit” by Bali Post, argued that all PSSI officials should be replaced.

Mimit’s sentiment is hardly surprising, given that Indonesian football has long been plagued by corruption and, more recently, a series of high-profile match-fixing allegations.

The PSSI and police announced a crackdown on match-fixing in December after an executive member of the association was caught on tape trying to bribe a coach with approximately $10,000 to throw a second division game.

Hidayat, who, like many Indonesians, only uses one name, resigned from his role and was handed a three-year ban and fine by a PSSI disciplinary committee.

Police have since named more than 10 suspects in the match-fixing probe.

While it has a low international profile, Indonesia has attracted Premier League players including former Chelsea star Michael Essien and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Didier Zokora.

But Indonesian football has been tarnished on the global stage by a host of problems over the years, including months of unpaid wages and the deaths of at least two foreign players who were left unable to afford medical care.

An explosive row between the domestic association and government prompted FIFA to ban Indonesia from international competition in 2015. The ban was lifted in 2017.

With additional reporting by AFP

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