Football: Indonesia FA denies graft in 10-0 rout

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  • Saturday, March 3, 2012
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    Bahrain players (above) consoling each other on Wednesday after learning that their 10-0 victory over Indonesia would not be enough for their team to advance in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.
    JAKARTA, March 2, 2012 (AFP) - Indonesian football authorities on Friday denied any foul play in the national team's 10-0 thrashing by Bahrain, after world governing body FIFA announced an inquiry and fans expressed outrage.
    The Gulf side needed to win Wednesday's match in Manama by nine goals to have any hope of making the last round of Asian zone qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup, while Indonesia had already been eliminated from the tournament.
    Indonesia's football association (PSSI) has long been mired in graft scandals, but the head of its disciplinary committee Bernhard Limbong told AFP there was "no way" corruption was involved in the remarkable scoreline.
    "I know because I was involved in organising the match. If anyone did that, they would be a traitor to Indonesia.
    "I would like to apologise to the whole nation for the defeat and for making Indonesia look like a total loser."
    Before the game the teams had a head-to-head record of two wins apiece and two draws, but Indonesia were humiliated in Manama by a flurry of goals after their goalkeeper was sent off two minutes into the match.
    Bahraini players Mohammed Tayeb and Sayid Dhiya both scored hat-tricks, delighting their manager Peter Taylor, a former England international and caretaker coach of the national team.
    FIFA said it was mounting its investigation "given the unusual outcome in relation to the results-expectation and head-to-head history and in the interests of maintaining unequivocal confidence in our game".
    Limbong said: "We welcome FIFA to carry out the required investigation on the matter. If there is any evidence to prove that corruption was involved, please let us know. But please don't jump to conclusions."
    He added that the PSSI would complain to FIFA about their goalkeeper's sending-off.
    In the event the result was academic, with Bahrain's rivals Qatar going through with a goal four minutes from time in Tehran earning them a 2-2 draw with Iran.
    But the drubbing stirred ridicule in Indonesia, with many taking to Twitter to deride the national team.
    "Wait, 10-0 Bahrain vs Indonesia. Is this football as in 'soccer', right? Not 'American' football," avianto tweeted in English.
    The PSSI has come under fire in recent years over corruption allegations, leadership tussles and most recently a breakaway elite league that prompted threats of sanctions by FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
    AFC general secretary Alex Soosay attributed Wednesday's freak result to Bahrain being the better side.
    "I have read the media reports about suspicions of match-fixing. I am confident that none of our teams are involved in this. Bahrain were the better team both tactically and technically," he said in statement late Friday.
    He also gave assurances that the AFC was able to tackle the scourge of corruption that has undermined Asian football.
    "We are very serious about stamping out this menace. We are very vigilant," he added.
    Indonesia's former PSSI chairman Nurdin Halid, who had been implicated in several graft cases, was ousted from his post in a no-confidence vote last year, leaving the feuding football body without leadership for months.
    FIFA was forced to intervene and threaten Indonesia with sanctions until it elected a new head.
    Indonesian football was again plunged into disarray in November when a breakaway elite league, Liga Super, was revived triggering a row with the official Liga Prima.
    The AFC has given Indonesia until March 18 to resolve the issue or face a suspension.
    Indonesia's coordinating minister for the economy Hatta Rajasa said he hoped the national side's mauling on Wednesday would embarrass the troubled sporting body to reform.
    "Indonesian football needs to be better managed and better regulated," Rajasa said. "It's sad to see a score of 10-0. It's not basketball, it's football."


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