JAKARTA (AFP) – Indonesian football’s long-running struggle against corruption has been reignited with authorities promising a new crackdown after a senior official was caught trying to bribe a coach, the latest scandal in a league scarred by mismanagement and deadly hooliganism.
But, dogged by years of match-fixing, violence and corruption rife at all levels of the game, analysts say the Southeast Asian country needs to do more than ”lip service” to tackle the endemic problems.
Earlier this month an executive member of the Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) resigned after a popular television talk show broadcast a recording of him offering the coach of Madura FC a bribe of approximately $10,000 to throw a second division game.
Hidayat, who like many Indonesians only uses one name, has been handed a three-year ban from football and fined by a PSSI disciplinary committee.
”Match-fixing exists everywhere, in league 1, 2 and 3. The problem is that the match-fixing issue has never been solved and (perpetrators) punished properly,” football analyst Akmal Marhali told AFP.
The PSSI announced the establishment of a special task force to address allegations of match-fixing following the scandal, promising firm action against cheats.
But critics like Marhali say there needs to be more than just ”lip service” to solve a problem that so far seems to be out of the grasp of Indonesian authorities.
”Perpetrators feel like they have impunity because there is no law enforcement,” Marhali said.