FIFA warns Indonesian FA of 'severe sanctions'

JAKARTA - The Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) faces "severe sanctions" unless it cleans up its act and prevents four banned candidates from standings in its May 20 elections, world governing body FIFA has said.

The election crisis has pushed the PSSI to the brink of expulsion with controversial head Nurdin Halid (pictured) among the four FIFA have decreed ineligible to stand.

FIFA also banned local oil tycoon Arifin Panigoro, who launched the breakaway Indonesian Premier League (LPI), along with Army Chief of Staff George Toisutta and Nirwan Bakrie.

Football's world governing body appointed a 'normalisation committee' in March to remove the PSSI from power and organise a presidential election after weeks of protests against Halid and his failure to halt the rebel LPI.

But FIFA said nine PSSI members are still appealing to have their candidacies approved for the May 20 vote, including the four they banned in February, prompting a sharp response from the world governing body.

"We would like to underline that the PSSI electoral appeal committee is not allowed to process the appeal on the eligibility to the PSSI presidency... as the case has already been decided," FIFA wrote in a letter seen by Reuters.

"We would like to draw your attention once again to the fact that should PSSI fail to abide by this decision it might incur severe sanctions, including the possibility of a suspension."

To add to the chaos, the PSSI's acting secretary general Joko Driyono said the normalisation committee was considering stripping North Sumatra, Lampung, East Java and North Sulawesi of voting privileges because of leadership issues.

Nurdin, who was jailed in 2007 for misusing funds but continued to run the PSSI from his cell, had been seeking a third term as president of the PSSI.