Rogue Indonesian league facing FIFA sanctions

DOHA - FIFA will take sanctions against a rogue Indonesian league if it goes ahead as expected on Saturday, world football's governing body said.

The 19-team Indonesian Premier League (IPL) is the brainchild of oil tycoon Arifin Panigoro as a way of improving football in the region.

However it is not recognised by the Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) or FIFA, who both support the existing Indonesian Super League (ISL).

"We have not received anything official about this but we expect the (IPL) league to start playing tomorrow (Saturday)," FIFA director of member associations and development Thierry Regenass told Reuters in Doha on the eve of the Asian Cup.

"We are aware of the situation and if it goes ahead it will be dealt with by FIFA's emergency committee and sanctions will be taken."

The PSSI have said they would also take sanctions against the IPL's players and teams, including the three who have switched from the ISL. The other 16 teams are new.

Despite football being hugely popular in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, the national team are ranked 127th by FIFA and not competing in Doha.

They were surprisingly beaten by Malaysia in the final of the Suzuki Cup last month.

Friday's Jakarta Globe reported that 70 people demonstrated in the city in favour of the PSSI and against the IPL.

"The IPL is a conspiracy, full of conflicts of interests, and its objective is to weaken the PSSI," one of the demonstrators Nur Joko told the paper.

The new league, which has been backed by the sports minister, provides further embarrassment to the PSSI who were forced to withdraw a surprise bid to host the 2022 World Cup more than seven months before the vote after failing to secure government support.