Arema to get answers on Champions League errors

The Indonesian League Board (BLI), an autonomous subsidiary of the Indonesian Football Association (PSSI), has told media that it requires a further two weeks before responding to Malang Arema FC's demand of compensation over the club's elimination from the Asian Football Confederation's 2006-07 Asian Champions League. "We will address all demands in a meeting with PSSI. And within two weeks, there will be a decision," BLI chairman Nirwan D Bakrie told a press conference at the Arema headquarters in East Java province yesterday.

Arema, along with Papua province-based Persipura FC, was expelled from the Champions League because BLI had been late in sending the clubs' registration documents to AFC House in Kuala Lumpur in Malasia. The AFC set 12 February as the deadline for the clubs to send the list of players. According to Wahyoe Boediwardhana in The Jakarta Post (12 March), some reports now say Arema's list of players reached the AFC on 13 February but the club has stated that it sent the list to BLI on 9 February.

"While Persipura seemed resigned to its fate, Arema has been vocal about demanding that the PSSI board resign and seek a possible automatic inclusion for the 2007 season. Last month, under pressure from demonstrating Arema fans, PSSI chairman Agusman Effendi promised to meet the demands of automatic inclusion, which many believe to be impossible," Boediwardhana commented.

At Saturday's meeting, Bakrie was accompanied by BLI executive director Andi Darussalam, BLI secretary Rogandi Soemadipraja and BLI manager Joko Driyana. Bakrie reportedly admitted that BLI had made internal mistakes which caused Arema and Persipura to be barred from the Champions League. He said that although it would be against the AFC ruling for Arema and Persipura to be allowed in the 2007 event, he promised to try.

See also: ASEAN clubs slam 'unprofessional' associations (1 March)