Sports minister resigns, FIFA ban looms on Indonesia

 (Reuters) – The beleaguered Indonesian soccer federation’s bid to avoid a FIFA suspension suffered a blow yesterday when sports minister Andi Mallarangeng resigned in the wake of graft charges.

Soccer in the Asian country has been plagued by infighting between the Indonesian Soccer Association (PSSI) and the breakaway Indonesian Soccer Rescue Committee (KPSI) and FIFA has threatened to suspend them if the row was not resolved by Monday.

Andi has been a key figure in the negotiations between the sparring factions, but the minister resigned when he was banned from travelling abroad after he was named as a suspect by the country’s anti-graft board following an audit of a sports complex project.

The Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) said the audit revealed the project was ‘full of irregularities’.

“The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) ban on my travel yesterday is enough of a reason for me to resign,” Andi was quoted as saying by the Jakarta Post newspaper.

“I am certain that the many accusations that have been levelled against me are not true.”

PSSI secretary Halim Mahfudz virtually ruled out a last minute truce with the KPSI and appeared ready for the FIFA sanction.

“No, there’s no agreement. I don’t see any agreement,” Halim was quoted as saying by Jakarta Globe newspaper.

“We still believe that we comply with the FIFA statutes…If we comply with the FIFA statutes and get sanctioned, we can easily appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sports,” Halim said.

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