Friday, May 27, 2011

No to FIFA Neo-colonialism

The Indonesian Football Federation is nowadays under threat to be suspended by FIFA, while efforts are made to fight against endemic corruption. On the eve of electing a new president, FIFA should stop imposing its dictates.

 FIFA should not transform world football into a dictatorship. Yet for tens of millions of Indonesian fans and football fans, this is today's image. At the recent congress of the Indonesian Football Federation or PSSI, held in Jakarta Friday, May 20, the special envoy of FIFA has virtually led the discussion, speaking alongside national delegates and refusing to consider the wishes of the majority of the voters.

Result: This crucial conference ended without a vote and Indonesia's young emerging democracy now finds itself under threat of suspension and sanctions. This, just days before a decisive election in Zurich, for the President of the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA). An election for which leading candidates  all promise transparency, fight against corruption and governance of this new popular sport par excellence that is football.

Let us not hide the truth. The Indonesian Football Federation has for years been the scene of an intense power struggle. The result was the creation, against the advice of FIFA, of a second « breakaway » league made of nineteen professional clubs . The return to normal within a pacified Football federation is therefore imperative. The Indonesian government has undertaken a lot of work to achieve that. So why not try a compromise? Two candidates, supported by an overwhelming majority of voters have been declared ineligible by FIFA for largely political reasons. For opposing, in the past, the actions of the former leadership of the federation tainted multiple allegations of corruption, these two candidates - one, a businessman leading the other current head Army whose term ends soon - are now rejected and discriminated by Zurich, while during the past years,  excesses and abuses committed by their predecessors have been ignored. More seriously :how can she, FIFA to both demand the reinstatement of the professional league and refusing to reinstate its leaders?

 I appeal here to all the candidates running for the presidency of FIFA. I appeal to MM. Sepp Blatter and Mohamed Bin Hammam, given as the favorites in this race to the top. I beg them: look closely at this issue. Do not let a country as large and strategically important as Indonesia to be suspended and punished, depriving millions of fans of their favorite sport. Accept, gentlemen, to receive the representatives of all parties in Zurich, in a gesture of appeasement and pacification, as Switzerland knows to do it so well. Do not abuse your rules to impose a neocolonial bondage on Indonesia. The time has come to prove that your international federation is also able to listen. Time is ripe to show Indonesia, and Asia that your international federation is not only run by unbridled ambition of individuals obsessed with getting votes at all cost before the election on 1 June.

This is a solemn appeal. We know that in Indonesia, FIFA has ignored for years on rampant corruption, match fixing, decisions taken by leaders imprisoned for embezzlement. Indonesian journalists have accumulated evidence and records. Why  so much negligence yesterday and so much hardship today ? Who has benefited from the largesse of the Indonesian Football Federation's past leadership ? Who's afraid of the reform movement under way in our country? Who, in Zurich, so long turned a blind eye? And why?

I am not defending here a camp against each other. I just ask FIFA to respect my people and my country and offer, as it must, the possibility of a compromise for the good of football. In October, Indonesia will host the Southeast Asian games. If the country is suspended by FIFA, then this very important competition will be dprived of a football tournament. Ulcerated fans could then scream their despair and provoke protests. Do we want to, after so long is proof of blindness, cornered these supporters to violence? I ask you gentlemen, candidates for president of the Federation Internationale de Football Association: make a gesture, go for appeasement. Do not turn our stadiums into battlefields as so many problems already, make life so complicated for our young but promising democracy!

I think FIFA will contribute positively to the development of democracy and sport in Indonesia bynot immediately imposing sanctions on IndonesiaDiscussion and consensusa process, which isknown in Switzerland as the "consensus democracyis the best means to solve this complex problemWe hope that FIFA officials are not viewed as "Mr. Governor-General" as in the Dutchcolonial erabut will be seen as the appropriate football tutor and coach.

Mr.Blatter, we appeal for your wise steps for Indonesia.

By Djoko Susilo with 2 comments


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