FIFA allows Indonesia back to global table

Fri May 13, 2016 11:38pm EDT
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By Brian Homewood

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Indonesia's suspension from international soccer for government interference in the country's soccer federation has ended after almost a year, FIFA President Gianni Infantino said on Friday.

However, the FIFA Congress confirmed the existing suspensions for Kuwait and Benin over government interference in their soccer associations.

Infantino told delegates the decision on Indonesia, one of Asia's biggest soccer markets, was taken by the FIFA Council after the government agreed to lift a decree considered to constitute unacceptable interference in the soccer federation.

"The government of Indonesia has advised us that the decree that was causing the suspension had been lifted," said Infantino.

The Asian Football Confederation welcomed Indonesia back into the "Asian soccer family" but said it would continue to fight any government interference in the running of the game.

"... the AFC Executive Committee reiterated this week their continued stand against government intervention in sport generally and soccer in particular," the regional governing body said in a statement on Saturday.

"As at their meetings in Delhi last November, Doha in January and Kuala Lumpur in March, the AFC Executive Committee in Mexico City made it clear that there was no place or justification for government interference."

FIFA stepped in to ban the country in June after a long-running row between the government and the local soccer association (PSSI) over which teams should be entered into the top-flight domestic league.   Continued...

FIFA President Gianni Infantino gestures during the 66th FIFA Congress in Mexico City, Mexico, May 13, 2016.  REUTERS/Henry Romero