Indonesia threatens to cut funding

Indonesia's sports ministry has threatened to pull funding from the national football team after a historic 10-0 thrashing by Bahrain in a 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier.

FIFA last week launched an investigation into the match, in which Bahrain needed to win by nine goals to have any hope of making the last round of Asian zone qualifiers, with allegations of match-fixing adding to Indonesian football's long list of woes.

"We're serious about it. We'll only pull funding from the national team, not the federation," sports ministry secretary Djoko Pekik said on Wednesday.

The Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) denied any foul play in the match in Manama last week, in which Indonesia's goalkeeper was red-carded in the first three minutes.

FIFA's World Cup regulations state that countries must field their 'best possible team in all matches of the competition' and 'observe the principles of fair play'.

But the PSSI omitted some of the country's star players from the line-up against Bahrain as they had been playing in a domestic breakaway league deemed unofficial.

"We want the best players to join the national team, no matter which league they play in, and for PSSI to settle its internal problems," Pekik said.

The PSSI has long been mired in graft scandals, but executive committee member Bernhard Limbong played down the ministry's comment, saying the funding would not be cut 'all at once'.

The ministry is 'just saying that to push reconciliation among Indonesian football bodies without having to blame anyone', Limbong said.

The ministry allocated more than US$2 million ($1.89 million) to the national team last year and has proposed more than US$4 million ($3.78 million) this year, which is yet to be disbursed.

The PSSI has come under fire in recent years over corruption allegations, leadership tussles and most recently a breakaway elite league that prompted threats of sanctions by FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

Source AFP