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Apr 15, 2012

Riedl’s Return Adds to Indonesian Football's Troubles

Alfred Riedl is back in Indonesia, but his timing could not be worse. The former national team coach arrived in Jakarta on Sunday night as the “shadow” Indonesian Football Association (PSSI), led by La Nyalla Mattalitti, appointed him to coach its own senior national team.

“He has agreed to coach our national team and we have given him a target to win the AFF Suzuki Cup in December,” La Nyalla said. “He will start working immediately to select all best players in the country, from the ISL [Indonesian Super League] and IPL [Indonesian Premier League].”

La Nyalla, a former PSSI executive committee member who was elected chairman of the shadow association by rebel Indonesian Football Savior Committee (KPSI) members last month, gave no further details. Riedl is scheduled to meet the press today.

The Austrian coach, who was hired by the regime of previous PSSI chairman Nurdin Halid, was abruptly sacked just days after a “pro-reform” group took over the association and installed Djohar Arifin Husin as chairman last July. Riedl, who replaced Benny Dollo, still had 11 months left on a two-year contract reportedly worth $16,000 a month.

His sacking and the events that followed sparked an angry response from fans as his squad had captivated the nation with its run to the 2010 AFF Cup final, in which it lost 4-2 on aggregate to Malaysia. The PSSI initially refused to pay out the rest of his contract, but world governing body FIFA forced it to compensate the Austrian, who then took a job as a technical director for Laos.

Riedl’s return will likely only add to Indonesian football’s headaches as attempts to reconcile the country’s two factions stay stuck in neutral. The PSSI has until June 15 to get its house in order or face FIFA sanctions.

FIFA’s emergency committee is expected to ban Indonesia from international play if the PSSI fails, a move that would leave the Merah Putih watching this year’s AFF Cup from the sidelines.

Djohar refused to comment on Riedl’s arrival.

“That’s not our problem,” he said after meeting Youth and Sports Minister Andi Mallarangeng on Monday to discuss options to settle the ongoing rift. “We asked the minister to help us in our efforts to reconcile with all parties in Indonesian football.”

Andi reiterated that the government only recognized Djohar’s PSSI. “As long as FIFA recognizes Djohar as the legitimate leader of the PSSI, we will support him and his regime,” he said.

Last month, the government halted its funding for the PSSI, with Andi saying the money would be returned once the association settled its differences.

“We have been given a deadline by FIFA and the government doesn’t want Indonesian football to be suspended from the international scene. The PSSI and all football stakeholders have to work hard to end the dispute,” Andi said. “I’m ready to mediate the talks and meet with ISL clubs in the context of reconciliation.”

Attempts at peace talks by the PSSI, Andi’s ministry and the National Sports Committee (KONI) have proven fruitless, with ISL clubs refusing to even turn up for meetings.

On Monday, PSSI vice chairman Farid Rahman and secretary general Tri Goestoro went to the Asian Football Confederation’s headquarters in Kuala Lumpur.

“They will meet the AFC Task Force before they come to Indonesia to meet with all PSSI members,” vice secretary general Tondo Widodo told

Last week, the AFC said it had forged a task force, led by AFC vice president Tengku Abdullah Ibni Sultan Ahmad Shah, to help Indonesia settle its dispute.

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