Indonesia deny 'Liberia friendly' broke FIFA rules

July 4, 2007

JAKARTA, July 4 (Reuters) - The Indonesia Football Association has denied it violated FIFA rules after Liberia complained to the world soccer body that the Asian side played an international friendly it had not sanctioned.

The Liberia Football Association (LFA) accused Indonesia of going ahead with the match with a Liberian team despite a request that it be cancelled.

Herman Ago, commercial director at the Indonesia Football Association, said his side cancelled the match after receiving a letter from LFA saying it had not sanctioned the game.

Indonesia instead played a team composed of mostly Liberian players playing in the local league, he said on Thursday.

'The Liberian national anthem was not played and there was no Liberian flag shown. Besides, the match was not registered officially with FIFA and AFC (Asian Football Confederation),' Ago told Reuters.

Indonesia won Saturday's match 2-1 in its last friendly ahead of the July 7-29 Asian Cup.

LFA secretary general George Williams told BBC Sport that despite several attempts to call off the game, Indonesia went ahead with it.

'We have complained to FIFA over the action of the Indonesians and we have made our concerns known to the Asian Football Confederation,' Williams was quoted as saying on the BBC's website.

He said disciplinary action would be taken against national players who took part in the match.

Apart from midfielder Stephen Mennoh, the rest of the players are not members of the national team, the BBC said.

Ago said the complaint might have stemmed from a misunderstanding between the agent who arranged the friendly, a Liberian based in Singapore, and the LFA.

'We are also a victim in this case,' he said.

Indonesia will host the Asian Cup qualifying round of Group D, which also includes South Korea, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.