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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

 

The Persija Stadium Mystery

This is a story that has been bubbling around recently, certainly getting more newsproint in the Jakarta Post than the domestic football. Rather than rehash it I will get lazy and copy and paste the stories straight from the local rag. They'll soon disappear anyway. And given my own team Arsenal recently leaving Highbury I have some sympathy here...

Residents angered by city's plans for Menteng Stadium site
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
Menteng stadium is now ruins and its redevelopment is just a matter of time.
However, the plan envisioned by the city administration is not exactly what local residents were hoping for.
In a meeting Monday, residents demanded the city administration change the planned design and conduct a more thorough feasibility study on the project.
"The Jakarta administration only thinks in terms of money. They are not anticipating the environmental and health impacts this might have on the community," said long-time Menteng resident and textile designer Iwan Tirta at the meeting at his house.
A committee consisting of representatives of several neighborhood units approved the administration's proposal to replace the old Menteng soccer stadium with an open green park for the public.
What they disapprove of is the proposed design, which they claim could have a serious affect on living conditions in the area.
The neighborhood group objects to the plan to build a multi-story parking facility on Jl. Sidoarjo, in place of the old Persija clubhouse, over 2,000 square meters of land. They believe it will lead to an increase in the number of vehicles and people in a location only six meters from residential areas.
The group said the administration needed to study nearby Jl. Kediri and Jl. Sidoarjo and consider the possibilities for traffic overflow and the extra pressure the development will put on the local drainage system.
"We approve of the park development, but we reject the parking facility as it could cause flooding because it would diminish the amount of land that can absorb water," said Menteng resident and historian Adolf Heuken.
Heuken, who lives in Jl. Mohammad Yamin, said the existence of street vendors had created problems for the residents, but the activities of the Persija soccer association had not.
"If they are building the park, they have to make sure to also build fences around it," said the German-born historian, who is the co-author of Menteng, Taman Kota Pertama di Indonesia (Menteng, the First Garden Residence in Indonesia).
An architect residing in Menteng and a spatial planner, Marco Kusumawijaya, said the original Persija field should not have to go through physical alterations if only a green area was to be built.
"We disagree with the Jakarta administration's plan to build a futsal area. The ground will be cemented so it will be hard for the land to absorb water," said Marco.
He added that in principle the Menteng area was developed as an environmentally-friendly residential area and not for commercial activities.
A representative of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi), Selamet Daroyni, said the development of the park according to the present design violated a 1998 Home Ministry decree that stipulates that each provincial administration should allocate about 40 to 60 percent of its area to open green spaces.
"It's easy to pinpoint the industrial, residential and office areas in Jakarta. But it is hard to find where the green areas are," said Selamet.
The city administration aims to have about 14 percent of the city covered by green areas by 2010. Last year, only 6 percent of Jakarta's green areas were left, said Selamet.
However, Johnnie Hermanto, who lives on Jl. Tasikmalaya, said he supported the city administration's plan to build the park.
"The parking facility will only replace the old Persija mess so there's not going to be that much of a difference. Moreover, the vehicles usually parked on the already busy Jl. H.O.S. Cokroaminoto will move to the new parking facility so the streets will be much cleaner and organized," said Johnnie while showing the prototype of the park to reporters.
"We, Menteng residents, have already signed an agreement with the Jakarta administration to build a park there, so there is no way back to reject the plan of the city officials," he said.
In the signed agreement, 55 residents asked the municipality to better organize street vendors, plant more trees on pavements and clean up water disposal.
Residents opposing the development said Johnnie had never attended any meetings on the topic before.


So thats the neighbours having their say. But football is also about football, maybe not in England where it's all about money.

Demolition leaves Persija homeless

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
Since the demolition of Menteng Stadium in Central Jakarta, many of the soccer clubs that are part of the Persija Jakarta league have been left with nowhere to play.
The subdivision leagues have had to find other locations for practicing, while the subdivision competition has been temporarily stopped by the city administration's decision to develop the stadium into an open green area.
"The designated relocation site, Roxy Stadium, is too small for the subdivision competition, while Lebak Bulus Stadium is reserved for the main division," said Ridwan Ramli, 66, a manager who has worked with Persija Jakarta for 10 years.
"Hopefully we can find a new field of stadium in Central Jakarta as it is this most strategic areas for most of our players to reach. If we relocated to South Jakarta, for example, many of our players would have to commute for far away and it would become exclusively the southern players' territory," he said Saturday.
Ridwan said the Persija Jakarta league, which consists of 70 clubs, had not received any compensation from the city administration. The league has a total of 40 junior teams, each of which can have up to 500 members.
Ridwan, who formerly worked for the Jakarta Prosecutor's Office, said he had always loved soccer and teaching children, so becoming an official at Persija seemed to be a natural career progression.
"I am afraid that the junior and child players will fall into drug abuse, drink alcohol and commit crimes while waiting for the competition to resume," he said.
The clubs now have neither offices nor fields. Ridwan said he had only been able to save goal posts and a few other items from being demolished with the building.
"We are keeping them in a temporary office in the Simpang Tiga area in Pejompongan (Central Jakarta)."
One of Persija's oldest junior teams is Putra Dewata, which has been relocated to a district military-owned soccer field on Jl. Jenderal Urip Sumoharjo in Jatinegara, East Jakarta.
The club, which has 80 players aged between 10 and 17 years old, was established in the 1950s to help Persija identify and cultivate new talent.
"We can only practice at this Jatinegara field. However, we can't use this field for competition as there is no seating for supporters," said Dino Asmuni, 52, who trains goal-keepers for Putra Dewata.
"I was raised in Menteng Stadium. Back when I was a teenager playing for a team, setting foot in Mentang Stadium made me proud. The experience of playing in a heritage stadium meant that a player was good enough," said Dino.
He said most competitors would be intimidated to play against those who had played at Menteng Stadium.
"The city administration has committed a brutal act against the stadium. Many of our trophies that were located in the lobby were damaged by the forceful demolition, and even the computer in the office is missing," Dino said.
He said Governor Sutiyoso had promised Persija some time ago that he would help rejuvenate the stadium. The city administration had repainted the walls of the Persija clubhouse in 2004 and nothing else, he added.
"I think the governor was disappointed with Persija's first division team's failure to reach the semifinals in the National Djarum league competition recently. Sutioyoso became emotional and this was the catalyst for his recent actions," Dino said.
Putra Dewata's head coach, Tatang Subandi, said he was saddened by the removal of the league.
"I used to be a player for Putra Dewata. There is nothing in Jakarta like the old Menteng Stadium because of its location," he said.
"When I was a player I represented Indonesia in an international competition against Singapore. We lost 2-1. I remember that Menteng was where I trained to become a better player," the 44-year-old man said


Some nice memories there. At Arsenal recently there was an old boy who did plenty of old jobs round the ground. He was a familiar face to many supporters and loved the club. With the move to the new stadium the club, who think nothing paying 50,000 GBP a week to average players could not find a place for this loyal servant. Football used to be full of stories about unbounded loyalties and heartwarming stories but no more. The gent in question, Paddy, went on holiday and died. Some say of a broken heart.

Will we ever get our game back?

Laters...

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