Ramadani Saputra, Jakarta – Comr. Gen. Mochamad Iriawan of the National Police was elected on Saturday as the new chief of the Indonesian Soccer Association (PSSI) for 2019-2023, making him the first police general to lead the country's soccer association.
The victory of Iriawan, who is also the secretary of the National Resilience Institute (Lemhanas), was expected as he was the frontrunner among 11 candidates in the race.
The congress was earlier marred by controversy as six candidates namely Aven Hinelo, Benny Erwin, Fary Djemi Francis, Sarman El Hakim, Vijaya Fitriyasa and Yesayas Oktavianus walked out of the congress as they felt that their aspirations were not heard by the PSSI committee.
Iriawan won 82 of a total of 86 votes, the voters comprised club representatives and PSSI regional chapters. Three voters abstained while the representative of soccer club Persis Solo withdrew from the election.
Among the other candidates La Nyala Mattalitti did not attend the congress while Bernard Limbong withdrew from the race right before it was conducted. Aside from Iriawan, only Arif Wicaksono and Rahim Soekasah stayed inside the room until the voting was finished.
Cucu Somantri and Iwan Budianto were elected as deputy chiefs.
Youth and Sports Minister Zainudin Amali said the government supported the congress as it received grants from world soccer body FIFA. "The government will be neutral and not intervene in the internal affairs of any sport federation [in the country]," he said.
A video of a speech by FIFA chief Gianni Infantino was played at the beginning of Saturday's congress, in which he supported the event and congratulated Indonesia for being elected as the host of the FIFA under-20 World Cup in 2021.
The PSSI has been engulfed in scandal since last year when former chief Edy Rahmayadi, the North Sumatra governor and a retired Army general, was forced to resign amid match-fixing allegations in the country's soccer league. The National Police have named suspects in the case including former PSSI deputy chairman Joko Driyono.
The police have also set up a special task force to investigate the case.