PSSI and sports ministry look to improve soccer

Representatives from the Youth and Sports Ministry met with Soccer Association of Indonesia (PSSI) executives on Wednesday to repair their fraying relationship and find solutions to the many ills plaguing national soccer.

The relationship recently deteriorated following the cancellation of a meeting between the two sides.

Last week, fulfilling an invitation from the government, a number of PSSI executives visited the ministry, but left the building after almost an hour waiting.

It was later revealed that the Youth and Sports Minister Imam Nahrawi had other appointments that day with the Indonesia Professional Soccer Association and a group of supporters.

The rescheduled meeting, however, went ahead as planned.

“This is our first meeting to exchange information [about soccer],” PSSI chairman Djohar Arifin told journalists at the PSSI’s new building in Senayan.

The minister was represented by ministerial assistant for achievement development Djoko Pekik Irianto, ministerial assistant for development and partnership Gatot S. Dewa Broto and expert staff for communication and information Amung Ma’mum.

They were welcomed by the PSSI’s Djohar, secretary-general Joko Driyono and a number of PSSI executives.

“This [meeting] is a follow-up to the Jan. 22 meeting that was cancelled. We have offered our apology to Pak Djohar and through the media,” Gatot said.

During a hearing with the House of Representatives Commission X overseeing sports last week, the commission members criticized the minister for hastily setting up a soccer reform team without communicating the plan to the PSSI.

The so-called Team Nine was established as an answer to public’s demand to freeze the activities of the PSSI after another low-performing year for Indonesian soccer in 2014, which was marred with match-fixing scandals. Team Nine was later alleged to be a tool of the government to meddle in the PSSI’s affairs.

“Today’s meeting has been very constructive as we openly exchanged views to find synergy
in our attempts to improve the quality of Indonesian soccer,” Gatot added.

“If previously we received information on the PSSI via the media, today we got the whole PSSI picture and what it has done so far. Pak Joko told us about the PSSI’s vision and that its financial report had been uploaded [to its website] as part of its effort to be more transparent.”

Ministerial assistant Djoko said the meeting was only the beginning of a series of meetings between the two parties.

“We will coordinate to determine the time and place [of future meetings],” he said.

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