The Indonesian Premier League scored a crucial victory on Monday after it was finally recognized by a special committee taking charge of the country’s football affairs.
The IPL has been branded a breakaway competition since its launch in January. Its existence continues to draw flak from the Indonesian Football Association (PSSI), which has labeled the league’s initiators “rebels” for challenging the FA-backed Indonesian Super League.
With the normalization committee putting the IPL under its authority, the league can now continue its operations without fear of being dissolved at least until its season ends later this year.
The new PSSI executive committee that will emerge from the May 20 election will then rule whether to dissolve the IPL or merge it with the Super League as FIFA sanctions only one domestic competition per country.
“We made the decision to accommodate the IPL under the committee’s supervision until the end of the season,” said Agum Gumelar, the committee head.
“After the end of its season, the IPL must report to the new PSSI leadership and the new heads of the association will decide thereafter the league’s future.”
The decision to recognize the IPL was agreed on by an IPL consortium, the PSSI’s Indonesian League Body, and Agum’s committee, which enjoys the full support of FIFA.
IPL spokesperson Abi Hasantoso said the league wasn’t surprised by the development.
“The IPL is a self-sufficient professional league that will lead Indonesian football toward becoming a healthy industry. The league is in line with all professional league rules by FIFA and the AFC [Asian Football Confederation],” Abi said. “So we’ve been expecting the committee to make that decision.”
The committee also accepted the resignation of Nugraha Besoes, the PSSI’s long-serving secretary general.
“[I resigned] for the sake of Indonesian football, for greater national interest than just myself,” Nugraha said. “I think I’ll have more time to play with my grandchildren from now on.”
Nugraha, 70, was first appointed PSSI secretary general in 1983 when Kardono was the head of the association. He stayed in his position until 1999, when he was replaced by Tri Goestoro during Agum’s term at the PSSI helm. He was given back his post when Nurdin Halid was elected chairman in 2003.
The committee appointed Joko Driyono, chief executive of Liga Indonesia and a member of the normalization committee, to replace Nugraha as interim secretary general.
The committee will begin accepting nominations for executive committee seats today, including chairman and vice chairman.