Tuesday, May 25, 2010


And today's attendance is ... ZERO!

Tomorrow it is the turn of Persib Bandung to host a game without any fans. A common occurance here I'm afraid. Indeed 'tanpa penonton' was one of the first Indonesian phrases I learnt.

The home team applies for a permit to hold a game and it is up to the police to say yay or nay. In many countries it is a formality. In Indonesia not even formalities are formalities. And this uncertainty can be a right pain in the pistachios when you are trying to run a business on cash flow.

Most Indonesian clubs of course rely on hand outs but the day will come when it will need to be better run, and it will happen though perhaps not till my lad is my age. And allowing games to go ahead will not be an option.

It seems the fear of something kicking off trumps all else including actual security work. The average football fan, at least in and around Jakarta is a young scally wag with torn jeans, wearing flip flops and wearing club colours. He is not necessarily a thug and needn't be blindly treated like one.

Ensuing calm reigns on the terraces needs cooperation. Supporters club officials bear the brunt here and certainly the ones I get to see at Persija and Persitara do a pretty good job on the whole. Certainly Persija fans take this role seriously and have a whole army of coordinators who do their best to stamp trouble out before it can spread.

One example was a game against Persipura back in 2008 at Bung Karno in the Copa Indonesia. Persipura won, for them beating Persija is like the Germans beating England on penalties, and their fans were allowed to spill on to the field to celebrate. The stadium rocked to the beat of a couple of thousand merry Papuans while the bulk of the Persija support looked on.

There were isolated incidents in the stands but they occurred on the fringes of the main support and never involved more than a handful of individuals. It could have been much worse but the Jakmania officials kept themselves busy and kept tempers in check.

Tellingly the official security services, who allegedly let the Persipura fans on the field in the first place and then utterly failed to get them out of the stadium, were only noticeable in absentia.

Too often though, and especially in Jakarta, the default reaction is to either move the game out of the city or ban fans from attending. A lose lose situation.

Crowd control is a kind of science. There are ways of monitoring a crowd, of taking preventative measures, and of ensuring smooth movement of crowds. All this information is out there or it's just an email away.

What it takes is for a number of bodies to work hand in hand so that any risk of trouble at a football match is minimised while the number of fans allowed to attend is maximised and everyone can go home at the end of the day. But when cooperating is little more than a car boot sale where everything is available at a price then I'm afraid we are still far from the end of games 'tanpa penonton'.

Some of persib fans are always making trouble in the street at 3 last game. and the police can't tolerate it, but then they relented.
so tomorrow, sorry today, is woth fans?
yup...with "tanpa penonton"
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