Jakarta. The Indonesian Football Association, or PSSI, will cooperate with the government to ensure all foreign footballers in the country's top-tier Liga 1 have proper work permits.
The Indonesian Professional Sports Agency (BOPI) reported Persib Bandung's Michael Essien and Carlton Cole to the Bandung Immigration Office on Monday (17/04), claiming that the players had neither residence permits nor valid work permits.
Both players were fielded on Saturday in Persib's Liga 1 opening match against Malang's Arema FC.
BOPI recently revealed 23 other names of foreign footballers in Liga 1 who do not have proper legal status in the country.
"It was my understanding that regulations concerning foreigners working in the country were aimed at preventing any illegal activity or wrongdoing. For that reason, I allowed [Essien and Cole] to play in their match [...] they couldn't possibly have committed any wrongdoings," PSSI chairman Edy Rahmayadi said on Wednesday.
"I take full responsibility for what happened."
Eddy said he will meet with representatives of the Manpower Ministry on Thursday to resolve the situation.
"Please don't blame the clubs for fielding their foreign players. Blame me, blame the PSSI," Edy said.
Aside from defying the regulations, PSSI has also been accused by the Asian Football Confederation for breaching cross-ownership statutes, which state that individuals may not have stakes in more than one football club in a respective league.