Jakarta. Representatives of the Manpower Ministry met with key officials of the Indonesian Football Association, or PSSI, on Thursday (20/04) to clarify work permit procedures for foreign footballers signed to clubs in the country's top-tier Liga 1.
The Indonesian Professional Sports Agency (BOPI) reported Persib Bandung's Michael Essien and Carlton Cole to the local immigration office on Monday, on suspicions that the players had neither residence permits (Kitas) nor valid work permits (IMTA).However, both players were fielded on Saturday in Persib's Liga 1 opening match against Malang's Arema FC.
BOPI subsequently revealed 23 other names of foreign footballers in the league who do not have proper legal status in the country.Representatives of PSSI, BOPI, the Sports Ministry, the Immigration Office and Liga 1 attended a special meeting to resolve the issue at the Manpower Ministry in Central Jakarta on Thursday.
"This should be corrected, foreign footballers should get proper work permits first, before they get longer stay permits," Friment Aruan, an official from the Immigration Office, told Detiksport.
"At this moment, [foreign footballers] are still eligible to stay in the country on limited stay visas [which last for 60 days]," he added.
Friment insisted that national procedures will not be softened to accommodate foreign athletes.
"Foreign footballers should have an IMTA before they take to the field. This must be adhered to by clubs who employ foreigners," he said.
Manpower Ministry officials noted that any future violations to those regulations will be met with proper disciplinary actions, either by the Immigration Office or the ministry itself.
Previously, PSSI chairman Edy Rahmayadi took responsibility for fielding foreign footballers in Liga 1 opening matches last week and said he would seek resolution to the matter with the proper authorities.