BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
FIFA has issued a CHF45,000 fine towards the Indonesian FA (PSSI) for crowd troubles that took place during the Group G World Cup Asian qualification match between Indonesia and Malaysia on September 5.
On that day, the travelling Malaysia fans were pelted by missiles by the home fans while entering the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, and there were attempts made to assault them during and after the match ended. Banners displaying offensive sentiments too were displayed just before the match kicked off. The match was won by the visitors with a 3-2 scoreline.
According to the Indonesian edition of Goal, FIFA's disciplinary committee only handed a monetary fine to PSSI equivalent to RM190,200, and the federation was spared heavier sanctions such as a stadium ban.
PSSI officials were understandably relieved with the judgement, and vowed to take the matter of crowd safety more seriously in the future.
"PSSI's secretary-general and security officer have been in communication with FIFA, explaining our efforts in ensuring that nothing untoward would take place. In the end we were handed a lighter sentence," said head of PSSI media relations and digital promotion, Gatot Widakdo.
"PSSI respects the punishment handed by FIFA. We will fulfil our obligations and undertake further evaluations to ensure a repeat of the incident. Football is a force that unites and promotes cultural diversity, and it requires respect from all sides," remarked PSSI secretary-general Ratu Tisha Destria.
In the meantime, questions must be asked of Malaysian FA's (FAM) reluctance to take a more aggresive response towards their Indonesian counterpart's failure in ensuring the safety of the away fans. While the association made sure to show to the fans that it has filed the necessary complaints and reports to FIFA, it was still too eager to protect PSSI.
"...In football governance it's important for us to respect other federations and avoid playing up sentiments. It's a last resort measure that depends on FIFA's action, and it's up to FIFA to decide. What we can do is to follow the guidelines and submit a complaint immediately when it happens," said FAM president Datuk Hamidin Amin to the press a few days following the eventful match.
And considering that this is not the first crowd trouble to flare up during an Indonesia-Malaysia match in recent years, FAM's reluctance to see PSSI handed more serious punishments will only encourage the Indonesian fans to victimise Malaysia players and fans again in future encounters.
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