Sun, Jan 05, 2014 - Page 18 News List

Death highlights Indonesian crisis

AFP, TANGERANG, Indonesia

He died in the early hours of Nov. 29. His brother said it is still unclear what exactly he was suffering from and he is waiting for the results of an autopsy.

Bengondo’s body was flown back to Cameroon earlier this month with funding from the Indonesian Football Association (PSSI).

PSSI chairman Djohar Arifin Husin said clubs were suffering funding problems as competition for sponsorship was tough and since 2011, professional teams have been banned from getting local government funding, a vital source of revenue in the past.

Attempts to improve players’ rights have also been overlooked in recent years as Indonesian soccer bosses struggled to resolve a feud between two rival federations, which spawned two top-tier divisions.

Both sides agreed in March last year to reunite under the PSSI, after world governing body FIFA warned Indonesia could be banned from international competition.

Despite the distractions, Husin insisted the PSSI is trying to resolve the issue of players going unpaid, saying all clubs had been given a deadline of Jan. 15 to pay outstanding salaries or face being banned from competitions.

However, such commitments are unlikely to reassure Ferdinand after his bitter experience in the world of Indonesian soccer.

“Footballers are not respected in this country,” he said.

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