Jailed Indonesian soccer president keeps his job, for now

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BANGKOK, Nov 9 (Reuters) Indonesia's beleaguered soccer federation has no immediate plans to remove its disgraced soccer president, despite demands by FIFA to organise elections for a replacement.

Nugraha Besoes, general secretary of the Indonesia Football Association (PSSI), told Reuters today that Indonesia would cooperate with FIFA but jailed president Nurdin Halid would continue to hold the post for the time being.

''There is no problem because we plan to follow the road map,'' Besoes said by telephone.

''There has been no substantial demand from FIFA, they are giving us a chance to finalise our statutes.

''FIFA care about Indonesian football, this situation is not damaging.'' Halid, 48, a Golkar party politician and prominent businessman, is currently serving a two-year prison sentence for embezzling 169 billion rupiah (18.5 million dollar) from a logistics company he headed in 1999.

After the PSSI refused to replace him, FIFA issued a demand that new elections be held, which would effectively rule Halid out as a candidate.

Besoes said there was no internal opposition to Halid's presidency and he would continue to hold the post until new statutes had been drafted.

''We have received no official request from our (federation) members for him to be replaced. He is still the president,'' Besoes said, adding that there was no clear timeframe for the drafting of the statutes.

On Wednesday, FIFA president Sepp Blatter said Indonesian soccer was in ''an unhappy situation'' and urged the PSSI to respect the road map.

Indonesia's sports council this week threatened the PSSI with sanctions if it failed to cooperate with FIFA.

REUTERS SSC HS1410

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