Blatter tells Indonesia to get ‘house in order’

Updated 15 December 2012
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Blatter tells Indonesia to get ‘house in order’

TOKYO: FIFA President Sepp Blatter on Saturday described the world body’s decision to grant Indonesia an extension to solve its football crisis as a “Christmas gift,” urging the nation to get its “house in order.”
Football in the Southeast Asian country has been in turmoil for the past two years because of a row between the Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) and its rival the Indonesian Soccer Rescue Committee (KPSI).
FIFA had given PSSI a December 10 deadline to reconcile its differences with KPSI, which runs a rebel league splitting the nation’s top teams, but the regulator’s Executive Committee on Friday extended the deadline by three months.
“It has been two years now, two years that they have tried to put together the two parts of the football organizations, but they couldn’t do it,” Blatter told a news conference in Tokyo.
“They have asked for another three months to be given, until March next year, and also the Asian Football Confederation was advocating that,” he said, adding that FIFA had agreed to the request.
“I think it was quite a Christmas gift to Indonesia that they haven’t been suspended,” he added.
The row started following the formation of the breakaway KPSI after four members of the PSSI were expelled.
The KPSI set up the Indonesian Super League as a rival to the official Indonesian Premier League.
The dual-league rivalry hit the national team after the KPSI told players from its unofficial top-tier Liga Super not to make themselves available.
“Can you imagine that in Indonesia they have two groups directing football,” Blatter said.
“They have a league but the players of that league cannot play in the national team. Something is wrong.
“Since 2011 we have tried to bring together these two different halves of Indonesian football. We have given (them) until the next meeting of the (FIFA) Executive Committee on the 20th and 21st of March next year to bring their house in order.”
PSSI head Djohar Arifin told AFP by telephone from Tokyo on Friday, after FIFA had discussed the issue at their meeting, that Indonesia had been asked to solve the domestic dispute “as soon as possible.”
The rival administrations have failed to unite despite signing a memorandum of understanding in June vowing to bring Indonesian football under one umbrella.
Blatter said that if the two did not unite by the new deadline a suspension would mean Indonesia being barred from playing in any international matches and FIFA’s financial assistance to the country would be blocked.
“We hope that such a decision does not have to be taken,” he said. “It would be very detrimental to their national football.”


Saudi Arabia prepare to step up World Cup preparations with Italy test

Updated 34 min 15 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia prepare to step up World Cup preparations with Italy test

  • Green Falcons play the Azzurri in Switzerland
  • Mancini: 'Saudi Arabia are a fast and physical team'

Italy coach Roberto Mancini is wary of the threat posed by Saudi Arabia ahead of their friendly on Monday in St.Gallen in Switzerland.
The four-time global champions failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup and are looking to rebuild ahead of the 2020 European Championships. Mancini was appointed in May to take over the national team and breathe in some new life.
“This is a vital game for us,” Mancini told Saudi Arabian television ahead of the friendly. “We know that Saudi Arabia are preparing for the World Cup so this is a great chance for us to build for the future,” said the former Manchester City boss.
“Saudi Arabia are a fast and physical team,” added Mancini. “All of the players are technically very good and we are looking forward to the test. We have to be careful as some of the players are playing for their World Cup place.”
Mario Balotelli is set to win his first international cap in four years for Italy after being recalled by Mancini.
“We didn’t make the World Cup,” said Balotelli. “Now we have to forget about that and focus on the future.”
The former Manchester City, AC Milan and Liverpool forward is looking forward to the challenge on Monday.
“We have to forget about what happened earlier this year and the fact that we didn’t qualify,” said Balotelli. “That is history now and we are really looking forward to playing Saudi Arabia. I haven’t played for the national team for a long time and I feel that I still have a lot to offer.”
Saudi Arabia are coming off the back of two 2-0 friendly victories against Algeria and Greece in a Spanish training camp that took place in May, but a good result against Italy would increase confidence levels further.
The lowest-ranked of all the 32 teams at the World Cup have a busy preparation period and take on Peru and Germany after the Italy clash. Saudi Arabia will meet the hosts Russia in the opening game of the 2018 World Cup in Moscow on June 14. After that, the Green Falcons take on Uruguay and Egypt in Group A.
“Any game is an important one in the build-up to the World Cup,” Saudi Arabia coach Juan Antonio Pizzi said on Sunday. “But playing Italy is something special. If we can get a good result then it can give us confidence to go on and have a good tournament. The important thing for us is that we feel we believe at this level and that is why we can try and push Italy all the way.”
The Green Falcons have been in Switzerland for a week in what is the fifth and final leg of their World Cup preparations. “Preparations are running smoothly and perfectly,” said Nawaf Al-Temyat, the vice president of Saudi Arabian Football Federation and chairman of World Cup 2018 preparation team, in a video on the federation’s Twitter account.
“We look forward in the coming three weeks to strong preparations. We’ll be playing three tough games against tough opponents. The Italian team has a new coach, Mancini, which is a great motivation for us. The Peruvian team is also a strong one and might be full of surprises in the World Cup. The coach and the players are very skilled.”
The Green Falcons have won three, lost three and drawn one of the seven games since Pizzi replaced Edgardo Bauza.
“We always say in the Saudi team that performance should be good during friendlies and results should be good in official games,” added Al-Temyat. “This means results are not important in friendlies but our performance is.”