Friday, September 07, 2007


Crowd trouble

It’s very easy for me to type and pontificate to an audience of dozens about just what Indonesia should be doing to make it’s game a more attractive product but I’m an outsider and no one is going to listen to me. More telling is what Indonesians themselves think about the hooliganism that affects the game and how to stop it.

A recent survey carried out by a sports tabloid made interesting reading. 410 people responded to the question ‘What should be done about violence from fans towards players and officials?’

More than a third were happy with the status quo. 34% said the Indonesian FA should sanction offenders. This happens at the moment of course and that fact that incidents carry on despite games being played behind closed doors, despite fines, shows the effectiveness of this measure. Nearly 15% think the supporters clubs should be banned. Prostitution is illegal here but still goes on!

It is telling that most of the options given in the survey related to punishment, not to prevention. Just over 8 % said more needed to be done to engage the supporter while less than 5 % believed the security officials should be proactive.

People don’t like the police here. That is a view shared by all the Indonesians I know be they business people or kampong folk. The police are seen as working with outstretched arms, one to beat and one to collect money. At football matches police are dressed up like budget robocops but this is less fro intimidation and more protection as any disturbance is liable to turn against them. So when fans climb the fences that surround the pitch the police offer little more than ‘would you please not do that’ before running away. When they get active with their riot sticks you can be sure they have numbers on their side.

Perhaps the media could be doing more? Instead of debating punishments perhaps they could talk more about prevention. At the end of the day it’s going to take a lot of will from parties involved, which will necessarily include an arm of the security apparatus. It will also take money.

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