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The football player association in Indonesia, APPI, is finally recognised by the country’s football association, PSSI. The fight for official recognition took more than eight years.

“With this recognition we can legally represent footballers and communicate with the football association and clubs, something we had not been able to do before”, said Valentino Simanjuntak, APPI’s chief executive officer.

A change in leadership at the football association (initiated by the government) resulted in APPI’s new status, which was confirmed during the football association’s recent general assembly.

Simanjuntak: “We are now considered as partners working together for the benefit of professional football in Indonesia.”

FIFPro welcomes the new status of the player association. “We admire the patience and dedication shown by the players and APPI in their struggles with leading figures in Indonesian football”, said FIFPro Asia Secretary General, Frederique Winia.

Although APPI became a FIFPro member in 2009, the PSSI for long refused to recognize it as the official representative of professional footballers in Indonesia. It even established its own player association to marginalize APPI.

In the meantime, players were suffering from the organizational chaos in Indonesian football. According to FIFPro Asia’s 2015 employment research, Indonesian clubs had the worst record in Asia for paying players on time with eighty-two percent of footballers receiving their pay late and almost one-third of them facing a delay of three to six months. Twenty-seven percent reported being bullied by club executives or coaches.

In 2012, Diego Mendieta passed away. The Paraguayan footballer could not pay medical help due to a long period of non-payment.

“There are still problems with non-payment and match-fixing in Indonesian football, however the situation has improved since the research took place”, Simanjuntak said. “

For APPI, the recognition is “only the beginning”, Simanjuntak added. “We need to improve the rights of our players. We want to prepare a collective bargaining agreement, introduce minimum requirements for a standard contract including insurance and image rights and we want to establish a national dispute resolution chamber.”

Earlier this month a delegation with FIFPro and FIFA representatives met with leadership figures in Indonesian football to discuss the introduction of a dispute resolution chamber.

 

Photo: leadership of Indonesian player association APPI.

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