Indonesian Premier League closer to merger

JAKARTA, April 12 (Reuters) - The Indonesian Premier League (IPL) took a significant step towards full integration on Monday when it was recognised by a special committee overseeing the country's football affairs.

A constant thorn in the side of the chaotic Indonesian Football Association (PSSI), who have branded the IPL "rebels," the breakaway league has already gained government support.

The new PSSI executive board to emerge from the May 20 elections will rule on whether to dissolve the IPL or merge it with the Super League, the Jakarta Globe reported on Tuesday.

The IPL has been authorised to continue its operations without fear of being dissolved at least until the end of its current season later this year.

"We made the decision to accommodate the IPL under the committee's supervision until the end of the season," panel chief Agum Gumelar told the Globe.

"After the end of its season, the IPL must report to the new PSSI leadership and the new heads of the association will decide thereafter the league's future."

World governing body FIFA sanctions only one domestic competition per country.

FIFA appointed the normalisation committee after weeks of protests against controversial PSSI chief Nurdin Halid and his inability to halt the popular IPL, launched by local oil tycoon Arifin Panigoro in January.