Monday, March 31, 2008


AFC Pro League

The AFC is insisting countries who wish to enter their teams into the Asian Champions League must adhere to strict requirements and to that end they are currently visiting applicant countries to see what progress is being made to achieve these goals. As it happens the AFC are today in Jakarta!

For 2009 there is a minimum requirement but by 2012 AFC will raise the bar for associations. Some of the benchmarks are technical, round balls that type of thing but I'm going to look at some of the standards and see how Indonesia is faring at the moment.


Tickets shouldn't be free. Fair enough. In Indonesia you should have a ticket to enter the stdium but that doesn't always happen as it should.

Average crowds should be 2,000 by next year rising to 5,000 in 2012. No problem there.

Attendances must be given and must be accurate. No more of this 12,000 lark when it actual number is 11,834. This should be introduced by 2009 but I don't know if Indonesia is ready yet for it. Accurate figures were, sometimes, given during the Asian Cup but often they just go by how many tickets were sold. Nobody physically counts people going through the gates.


Government should not interfere in the affairs of the League. It's not government, and by this I guess they mean central government, that is the issue here.

Match fixing isn't allowed. Hmm...I have heard stories, I have seen games where an inordinate amount of injury time was added on while waiting for the home team to win. It may not be match fixing per se but some fixtures, grounds do attract homers and we ain't talking Greek writers here.


The league needs to have a centralised body that takes care of media, sponsorship and merchandise. Two out of three ain't bad. Promotion strategies? Non existant beyond work done by the sponsors. A league guidebook? Match day programmes? Only seen them at some SLeague games. Website? There is one. No one says it has to be regularly updated though!

The marketing should be in place by 2009 and while this is on paper the easiest area to comply with things are never done on paper are they?

Game time

Fans, media, players, officials and VIPs should have secure areas. Not here they don't. Getting from the players coach to the dressing rooms has the appearance of a brawl to the unintiated, fans freely climb fences during and after the game. Stadium access is often poor making this difficult and certainly Persija don't get changed at the stadium but at their own complex some miles away.

There should be security officers and guidelines. The only place I've seen private guards was at Solo and Kurnia Sandy the ex Persik keeper told me the players certainly appreciated the difference with these guys and the local constabulary!


The league and the clubs should have media officers! Good idea. If I told you how I get my interviews you'd piss yourself. Eat your heart out Brian Glanville!

The League should keep fans fully informed of developments. That's some way off here. Fans at the moment get news from the supporters clubs who are often better informed than club officials are.

There is good media coverage with taloids, TV plus live coverage of games.


There are 15 conditions to be met for a stadium to be considered acceptable for ACL games. Recognising the costs and will involved in this area the AFC are perhaps right to be leniant in the implentation of this condition with one stadium required to comply by 2009 and four by 2012.

Turf to FIFA standards; floodlighting to minimum 1200 lux; covered or partly covered stands; steady power supply (!); wires for outside broadcasting; dressing rooms for teams and officials; drug testing room; medical room; security room; a VIP area (oh yes, these are common at stadiums and not just Indonesia. Singapore takes care of the big chheses and tries to ensure they don't mix too much with the great unwashed.); press facilities; TV/radio facilities; revenue earners (merchandise, food and drink - at present merchandise is sold by people sitting on the road outside the stadium and refreshments are brought to the fams in the stand by an army of men and women forever blocking the view); comfort for fans (a dream in Indonesia, not bad in Singapore but what's with putting our bums on cold concrete eh?); located within 30 minutes of the city centre and within 100 km of a major airport.

The last one could be an issue. 30 minutes from Jakarta's city centre and you're a couple of miles from where you started. Persik, Persiwa, Perela are just three of the clubs that could fall foul of the airport condition. (Though Persela Lamongan may just squeeze in courtesy of Surabaya airport)


Clubs need to have revenue from a number of sources. At present they have just two. Local government and sponsorship. They are losing the taxpayer and need to add gate reciepts, merchandising and transfer fees. With 12 month contracts the norm in Indonesia transfer fees look a way off. Players leave one club then negotiate a new contract with a new club...nothing for the short sighted clubs at all.

Clubs should have competent management...umm, did I tell you about the ex hooligan now in a management position?

Clubs should have youth development programs. Fandi Ahmad at Pelita Jaya already has this.

My Conclusion

Indonesian football knows it needs to improve the game, the infrastructure to be able to develop with the likes of Thailand and Singapore. (Don't even think about Japan or South Korea yet.) There is general agreement of what needs to be done and why it needs to be done. There are though a couple of major stumbling blocks. Money and people!

Everbody knows what needs to be done, nobody wants to pay for it. Instead people would rather go hands outstretched to the government and get the money from their. It's unaccountable.

Too many people are on cozy little sinecures and while they may pay lip service to the concepts outlined above they are no reach to implement anything that could prove expensive, involves initiative or could see them sidelined. Politicians aren't going to take a back seat just because the AFC say so, not yet, they're too involved.

The idea of transfer fees for players seems miles away. Until professional managers recognise the positive effect they can have on the bottom line. Merchandising is a pipe dream until both club and supplier can get their shit together.

To give just one example. Persija last year signed a deal with Diadora to supply the kit. That was it. Only when the Supporters Club approached the manufacturer and said can we sell some in the shop did anyone even consider mass producing the kit. And even then from order to delivery was three months!

But it's easy to be negative. There are people out there working hard behind the scenes to ensure Indonesia does reach the required standards despite all the obstacles put in front of them by vested interests. The culture of football needs a radical overhaul, an infusion of entreprenaurial spirit and these things don't happen overnight.


Well, i'm assuming only a couple of nations could fullfil any AFC criteria, but at least the AFC have finally got something for everyone to work towards.

Not woo sure on the airport issue, i assume we will see teams being moved to paly games near an airport, instead of clubs trekking into the unknown, etc.

Be interesting to see who gets the nod for the Pro League and the ones who don't, and then see if they complain about favortisem?
the airport would sure be an issue for persipura. they have one of course but a seven hour flight from jakarta??!!
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