Thu, 23 Nov 2000

Nurdin submits letter of resignation

JAKARTA (JP): The Soccer Association of Indonesia (PSSI) official in charge of athletes development, Nurdin Halid, submitted his resignation Tuesday evening amidst pressure critical of some of his decisions.

"I have to consider his resignation carefully. I will decide about it in one or two days," said PSSI chairman, Agum Gumelar, on Wednesday after signing a Rp 10 billion (US$1.05 million) sponsorship deal with state-owned Bank Mandiri.

Nurdin -- who was also chief de mission of the 2000 Tiger Cup in Thailand and the 2000 Asian Cup final in Lebanon -- was under fire for his alleged decision to discharge coach Nandar Iskandar after Indonesia lost 1-4 to Thailand in the qualifying round.

The move was harshly criticized as it was against the association's rule that only PSSI chairman has the authority to fire Nurdin, national team director Muhammad Zein and coach Nandar. Indonesia was runner-up after losing 1-4 to host Thailand in the final last Saturday.

Nurdin told a media briefing last month that he would resign if Indonesia failed to win the Tiger Cup.

Agum said it would be hard for him to allow Nurdin out of PSSI.

"I need a soccer enthusiast who can assist me in organizing the national soccer program. Moreover, being a PSSI official is a voluntary job and one should realize that he or she does not receive a proper salary."

Agum did not say that Nurdin was trying to fulfill his promise by withdrawing from PSSI.

"He (Nurdin) felt he had failed. But we have to consider this matter clearly. We have to agree that the Tiger Cup result was not a total failure."

Nandar, who immediately returned to Jakarta after Zein told him to take a break in the remaining matches, had reported his situation to Agum last week.

"I can understand what they did. But as chairman, I should thank Pak Nurdin, Pak Zein and Pak Nandar."

Meanwhile, Bank Mandiri has agreed to increase its sponsorship from Rp 7.3 billion last season to Rp 10 billion for the 2001 national soccer league. The league will retain its name as Liga Bank Mandiri.

"Our sponsorship is purely on a business basis. Our bank is more popular since we sponsored the event. We earned Rp 40 billion last season and the amount was much more than our contribution," said Bank Mandiri President E.C.W. Neloe. (ivy)