May 28, 2015 / 11:03 AM / 2 years ago

Soccer-Indonesia hopes to escape possible ban amid FIFA turmoil

JAKARTA, May 28 (Reuters) - Indonesia is optimistic of escaping a possible FIFA ban over an administrative row on Friday as soccer's world governing body finds itself embroiled in a massive scandal after its senior officials were arrested on bribery and corruption charges.

Indonesia is unlikely to meet Friday's deadline set by FIFA to resolve a dispute between the country's soccer association PSSI and the government over who is eligible to compete in the Indonesian Super League.

FIFA was expected to vote on Indonesia's future at a meeting in Zurich this week, but the agenda is now unclear following Wednesday's arrest of seven senior soccer officials on corruption charges.

"We don't expect FIFA to sanction PSSI," Alfitra Salamm, secretary of the ministry for youth and sport, told Reuters.

"I heard that they will start the congress tomorrow and there's no agenda to discuss the Indonesian football conflict."

An administrative court in Jakarta has scheduled a June 8 hearing to try and resolve the row, which has led to the cancelling of the soccer season after the ministry suspended PSSI.

The Indonesian Professional Sports Agency (BOPI), sanctioned by the ministry, wanted Persebaya Surabaya and Arema Indonesia to be blocked from playing but PSSI had resisted.

FIFA has threatened the country with a ban over BOPI's meddling in football affairs and said only the PSSI was recognised to make decisions.

The world governing body takes a dim view of government interference in football affairs and a ban could prevent Indonesia from participating in the qualifying tournaments for the 2018 World Cup and 2019 Asian Cup. (Reporting by Randy Fabi and Mirza Ayu Anindita; editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

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