Sunday, April 25, 2010


Indonesia Premier League Play Offs

Or Making It Up As We Go Along

The Big 8 play offs featurning the top two in each Premier League Division and two best of the rest, have still not been finalised. Instead of going ahead next weekend in Sidoarjo (?) and Bone (!) the games have been put back a couple of weeks for the not alltogether unreasonable excuse that the teams haven't been finalised.

Now in most countries the final arbiter of who does what and goes where is the league table but this is Indonesia and sometimes the tables do lie.

I've covered it before but it's worth recapping. Persikabo missed out on a play off spot because they got dropped points by FIFA because they didn't pay one player what he was entitled to a few years ago. Instead PS Mojokerto Putra earned themselves a play off spot by that new fangled idea called merit.

Persikabo appealled. They said it wasn't fair and look at Persisam. Indeed, let's look at Persisam. They too got into trouble for not paying someone and they too got fined by FIFA and they too had points deducted. Except that the last sanction was over ruled locally. So Persikabo's appeal is based on the fact that it ain't fair that Persisam keep their points while they don't.

Initially it looked like the FA here decided to side with Persikabo. After all if they start punishing clubs who don't fulfill contracts we'd end up with a three team league. But the media took up the story with gutso and a decision that would normally be made in a smoky backroom far from prying eyes suddenly became a cause celebre and back page news on a daily basis.

While this was going on it was announced that Bone, a town in South Sulawesi bereft of any kind of top flight football team, would be one of the hosts of the play offs, whenever they happened and whoever played.

In their haste to select Bone it seems that a few minor points had been overlooked. Small things like the TV channel broadcasting the games had no facilities there. The company sponsoring the IPL had no branch there. Minor details easy to overlook I'm sure you agree.

The latest re the stadiums, I think, is that Sidoarjo and Makassar will host one group each. Why anyone should consider South Sulawesi is beyond me as they have no teams being represented though it maybe interesting for cynics to note that the FA head hails from there.

Back to who will actually compete. Semen Padang are there as are Persipasi, Persiba Bantul, Deltras, Persiram, Persidafon and Persibo. And either Persikabo or PS Mojokerto Putra.

Amid all this nonsense no one has explained yet why Persikabo, even if they do get their points back, are being considered at all. Because Persita will still finish above them anyone so even by stretching the rules they would still miss out.

And, yup, there's more, it could all be irrelevant anyway if the talk of no relegation and 10 teams being added to the Indonesia Super League has any truth in it. Guess what. The top three in each of the regional groupings would rise a division and guess who the next best team would be, assuming their points are returned?

Dostoevsky has nothing on this place.

UPDATE - and now this from today's Jakarta Globe. Are FIFA finally getting embarrassed by the antics here. And do the local FA care enough anyway?

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