Indonesia FA turns to FIFA over election crisis

JAKARTA, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Indonesia's football federation (PSSI) will ask FIFA for help in resolving an election crisis that threatens to bring the game to its knees in the country.

Demonstrations calling for the resignation of chairman Nurdin Halid turned violent last week after the PSSI's electoral committee disqualified oil tycoon Arifin Panigoro and Army Chief of Staff General George Toisutta from standing against Nurdin, who is seeking a third term.

The leadership tussle took a further confusing twist when the PSSI's appeals committee annulled all decisions relating to candidates standing in the election.

PSSI Secretary General Nugraha Besoes said the appeals committee's decision had only muddied the waters ahead of the election in Bali on March 26.

"The (appeals committee) basically didn't decide anything," Nugraha was quoted as saying in Monday's Jakarta Globe. "The decision was very unclear so I don't think it can be enforced.

"We will ask FIFA whether this matter should be solved internally by the executive committee, or if we have to wait for FIFA's recommendation about our plan (for the election)."

The appeals committee said it had been subjected to political interference in the decision whether to reinstate Toisutta and Panigoro as candidates.

Indonesia's representative on FIFA's ethics committee, Dali Tahir, said the issue would be brought up at its next meeting.

"We received an e-mail from FIFA on Friday night and they stressed that the government should not interfere," he told state news agency Antara.

"We're anxious about this meeting because the agenda should have just been about the problems of other countries like Brunei, but now Indonesia is part of that meeting."

The game has reached crisis point in Indonesia, where a breakaway domestic league was launched last month without recognition from world governing body FIFA.

The league is the brainchild of Panigoro and is aimed at improving the level of the game in the country ranked 129th by FIFA. It is also backed by the sports minister.