Rival Indonesian factions agree to congress

The rival factions whose power struggle has left Indonesian football in crisis have agreed to hold a joint congress in Jakarta next month to settle their differences, the sports minister said.

The near two-year battle for power between the Indonesian Soccer Association (PSSI) and the Indonesian Soccer Rescue Committee (KPSI) has resulted in the populous Southeast Asian nation having two domestic leagues and two national teams.

But Youth and Sports Minister Roy Suryo was optimistic that the March 17 congress would find a resolution.

"Hopefully, if everything goes well, KPSI will merge with PSSI," Suryo told reporters late on Monday.

"I have received a letter from the world football ruling body FIFA on February 13, which set a new deadline of March 20."

The internal strife reached a humbling low in December when Diego Mendieta, a Paraguayan striker, died of a treatable viral infection last month after going four months without being paid in the KPSI league with the PSSI refusing to help.

World players' union FIFPro criticised the PSSI last month after further cases of sick, unpaid players were discovered.

FIFA have long threatened Indonesia with punishments and bans if the row was not resolved but time and again, deadlines have been extended.

"I think it was quite a Christmas or end of year gift to Indonesia that they haven't been suspended," president Sepp Blatter told a news conference after FIFA's executive committee meeting in Tokyo in December extended the deadline once again.