Thursday, March 3, 2011

Konflik PSSI, Jadi Topik di New York Times

Kisruh PSSI, Jadi Topik di New York Times - Konflik dan kisruh yang kini melanda Federasi Sepakbola Indonesia atau PSSI, ternyata tidak saja ramai diperbincangkan di Tanah Air.
Ternyata gaung kemelut PSSI juga menjadi bahan pemberitaan New York Times,  yang merupakan salah satu koran besar dan berpengaruh di negara adidaya Amerika Serikat.

Berikut Ulasan New York Times Tentang PSSI

In Indonesia, a Scandal Over Soccer
Chaotic street protests, bickering elites and swirling allegations of corruption — it all looks like another typically unsavory episode of politics in Indonesia.

But the latest protracted fight to absorb the attention of one of the world’s largest democracies is not about politics as usual. It is about soccer. And it is all the more serious for it.

Hundreds of Indonesians have taken to the streets across the country in recent weeks to demand the ouster of a prominent politician, Nurdin Halid, as chairman of the beleaguered Football Association of Indonesia, a position he has held since 2003 — part of it from behind bars for two separate corruption convictions.

In that time, opponents contend, Mr. Halid has run Indonesian soccer into the ground while consolidating power for political allies and enriching himself.

He is now engaged in a bitter struggle with members of the government who want him out. The challengers for his job include the Indonesian Army’s chief of staff, Gen. George Toisutta, and an energy tycoon, Arifin Panigoro, who has already created a breakaway league not affiliated with the association. Both men had their candidacies rejected by the association in February, but that decision was overturned on appeal. A meeting that would elect a chairman, originally scheduled for this month, has been delayed amid the infighting.

Mr. Halid, for his part, asked a committee of the Indonesian House of Representatives for protection Tuesday, claiming his family had received death threats from senior government officials. “I leave my life in the hands of God, may he be glorified and exalted,” he said. Mr. Halid also drew the ire of Indonesians by announcing during the same hearing that he was running as a candidate to head the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Football Federation, as well as for a third term at the helm of the Indonesian association.

According to Tondo Widodo, a former association committee member, the root of this latest crisis is simple: Indonesians are sick of losing.

“You ask anyone on the street, they don’t have to be an intellectual, they can be a taxi driver,” Mr. Widodo said. “They’re all ashamed. They all dislike what Nurdin Halid and his group have done as they’ve reigned over the P.S.S.I.,” he said referring to the initials of the Indonesian name of the association.

Despite Indonesia’s population of about 238 million and its obsessive love of soccer, particularly European league matches, the national team has not won an international tournament since the 1991 Southeast Asian Games. Stadiums and training facilities are in disrepair, and local clubs prefer importing foreign players to fostering local talent, Mr. Widodo said.

Indonesia is ranked 129th in the world by the world soccer governing body, FIFA, having sunk as low as 153rd and reached as high as 76th. It currently stands between Puerto Rico and Dominica in the world rankings. The national team has not been in the FIFA World Cup since 1938, when the country was still a colony of the Netherlands. Although Indonesia is not the only Asian nation with a disappointing national team, the lack of international victories still rankles.

While the sport has floundered, Mr. Halid is accused of illegally amassing wealth for himself and close associates. Most recently, he has faced allegations that he pocketed 100 million rupiah, or about $11,000, in government funding for a team in East Kalimantan Province.

At the same time, he is accused of turning the association into an organ for spreading the influence of politicians from his party, Golkar, which is in a frosty and tenuous coalition with the party of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Mr. Halid is seen as being particularly close to the family of Aburizal Bakrie, the billionaire chairman of Golkar.

All this is particularly galling for Indonesians because soccer is one of the few truly uniting forces for Indonesians, who speak hundreds of languages, follow multiple religions and live spread across thousands of islands, Mr. Widodo noted.

“The P.S.S.I. was an organization, a tool of national struggle,” he said. “But now it has become a tool for Nurdin Halid’s political struggle for Golkar.”

More than a decade after the 1998 overthrow of the dictator Suharto brought democracy to their country, Indonesians are also increasingly disillusioned with a system marked by corruption, vote buying, patronage politics and a bureaucracy that is not accountable, said Dodi Ambardi, the director of the Indonesian Survey Institute, a research organization. The dire state of the nation’s most popular sport is just another part of that malaise, he said.

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