Persipura Jayapura have formally filed two letters to the Football Federation of Indonesia (PSSI) questioning the appointment of Persija Jakarta as one of the two representatives of Indonesia for the 2021 AFC Cup. The Mutiara Hitam, who finished third in the 2019 Liga 1 Indonesia campaign, felt that Persija’s appointment had violated a statute within the Entry Manual of AFC Club Competition itself, which regulates who should qualify for Asian competitions for the 2021 season.
The statue in question is Article 9 on Sporting Criteria, which stipulates that “should a cup winner fail to qualify for AFC club competitions, their berth will be given to the league runners-up, and should the runners-up also fail to qualify for AFC club competitions, the league third placers will receive a berth in AFC club competitions.” As both PSM Makassar and Persebaya Surabaya, winners of the 2018-19 Piala Indonesia and runners-up of the 2019 Liga 1 season respectively, have failed to attain AFC licenses for the 2021 season, Persipura as the second-highest-placed team in the 2019 Liga 1 season to have an AFC license were automatically entitled to a spot in the 2021 AFC Cup accompanying 2019 Liga 1 champions Bali United. However, the PSSI has made the decision last Wednesday to appoint Persija instead, as they had finished the 2018-19 Piala Indonesia competition as runners-up.
“We’re not protesting the decision, we’re merely questioning it,” said Persipura assistant manager Ridwan Bento Madubun to Indosport on Saturday, “We’re asking for an explanation from the PSSI, whether they had followed AFC regulations when appointing teams for next year’s AFC Cup, that’s it.”
In his interview with Indosport, Bento expressed some disappointment about how the PSSI are responding the letters sent to them by the Persipura management.
“We’ve sent two letters to the PSSI already about this but they haven’t replied to them,” Bento said again, “If they say that they wanted to process our letters on Monday, then tell us, don’t just ignore our letters like that. Maybe they’re waiting for a response from the AFC but I think you don’t need to wait for their response as our letters have little to do with any response from the AFC.”
“We just want some explanation about what happened on Wednesday’s executive meeting, what was the rationale between the appointment of the two Indonesian representatives for next year’s AFC Cup during that meeting. That’s all that we ask, we don’t need an explanation from the AFC for this,” continued Bento.
On Friday, PSSI caretaker secretary general Yunus Nusi spoke to Goal Indonesia that the federation have accepted Persipura’s letters and they have also forwarded the results of Wednesday’s meeting to the AFC.
“We’ve spoken to the AFC and reported that both Bali United and Persija will represent Indonesia in next year’s AFC Cup,” Yunus said, “We’ve also forwarded Persipura’s concerns to them and we’ll let them decide on what we should do next. For now, we’ll wait for a response from the AFC first.”