JAKARTA (12 Feb 2012) – Persipura Jayapura will play in the AFC Champions League 2012 after the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) decided to comply with the Court Arbitration for Sport’s provisional decision.
Asian football’s governing body decided this week to allow the Black Pearls into a one-match ACL playoff. Persipura, the defending Indonesian Super League (ISL) champion, will face Adelaide United at the A-League club’s Hindmarsh Stadium on Thursday.
In a letter dated on Friday and addressed to FA of Indonesia (PSSI) secretary general Tri Goestoro and FA of Australia chief executive Ben Buckley, the AFC competition committee laid out the specifics for the playoff.
The winner of the playoff will go into Group E with Uzbekistan champion Bunyodkor, J-League third-place finisher Gamba Osaka and the winner of a playoff between Chonburi FC of Thailand and South Korea’s Pohang Steelers.
Even if Persipura win the playoff, it is not completely in the clear. The AFC said their letter that they would wait for the final ruling from the CAS, which is expected before 6 March 2012, before determining whether the Papuan club would play in the group stage or not.
“If Persipura are later found to be disqualified due to CAS’s final award and decision (which may be contradictory to the provisional decision), Adelaide United may replace Persipura Jayapura to participate in the ACL preliminary group stage,” the AFC stated.
It also ruled that the loser of the Persipura-Adelaide playoff would not drop into the AFC Cup group stage ‘in order to maintain the match fixtures and integrity’ of the competition.
Persipura celebrated the news, which broke late on Friday, and club secretary general Thamrin Sagala said the Black Pearls were ready to play.
“The team has been in Jakarta since Thursday and we’ve already booked tickets to fly to Adelaide on Monday,” Thamrin said.
The Black Pearls won the 2010-11 ISL. But the PSSI chose not to register the club for the ACL because the club chose to stay in the now-breakaway ISL instead of joining the officially sanctioned Indonesian Premier League (IPL).
Persipura appealed to the CAS, which reinstated the club with a provisional decision on 1 February 2012.
SOURCE: Jakarta Globe