Indonesia grateful for FIFA support

JAKARTA - FIFA's decision to remove power from the chaotic Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) has been warmly received by the southeast Asian country's government.

Football's world governing body said on Monday they would appoint a normalisation committee to run the PSSI and organise presidential elections by May 21.

"The government warmly welcomes FIFA's decision because it means the government and FIFA are in agreement," Sports Minister Andi Mallarangeng (pictured) told local media on Tuesday.

"As soon as the committee is formed, the government will facilitate it so it can work immediately and start preparing for the PSSI congress."

FIFA's move came after weeks of protests against controversial PSSI head Nurdin Halid and his organisation's failure to stop the popular breakaway Indonesian Premier League (LPI) which was started in January by local oil tycoon Arifin Panigoro.

FIFA said the PSSI had lost all credibility in Indonesia and were not in a position to control the current crisis.

The news of FIFA's intervention was also welcomed by the LPI, who have received government support from the outset and have been working with the Indonesian Professional Sports Body instead of the PSSI.

"Right now, we will keep running with the Indonesian Professional Sports State Body (BOPI) but we are sure that the new officers of the PSSI will accept LPI," league official Abi Hasantoso told Reuters.

"The LPI is based on FIFA's direction 'For the Good of the Game' and the AFC's (Asian Football Confederation) Pro-League Committee."

Halid and Panigoro, along with Nirwan D. Bakrie and Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Toisutta, are believed to be the four PSSI presidential candidates FIFA rejected on Monday.