Friday, September 16, 2011


Indonesian Football Goes International

Officials don’t know how the new domestic football league will be run, when it will kick off or even which teams will be in it. But one thing is certain — for the first time in history, Indonesian league matches will be broadcast overseas.

Liga Prima Indonesia, the country’s professional league administrator, signed a broadcast deal on Thursday with television content provider Broadway Media of Malaysia, which will air Indonesian football games in Malaysia on the Bintang and Pelangi channels on Astro All Asia Networks’s digital satellite network.

“[Indonesian] league games now will not only be watched by roughly 85 million football fans in the country, but we predict at least three to five million more viewers in Malaysia,” said the LPI’s chief executive, Widjajanto. “They won’t just have live coverage. They will also have supporting programs such as weekly highlights, previews and players profiles.”

The league also stands to gain new fans in Brunei since Astro also broadcasts in that country.

Widjajanto said the LPI was still in talks about which local stations would get the rights to the matches.

In 2007, the then-league organizer, Liga Indonesia, signed a 10-year, Rp 100 billion ($11.4 million) deal with ANTV. However, the new leadership of the Indonesian Football Association (PSSI), which came into power earlier this year, has been looking for a better deal. The association believes the broadcast rights for league matches are worth more than just over $1 million a year. (Absolutely right. The thing needs tearing up and rewritten. But which family both owns ANTV and was closely connected with football in the old regime?)

For the first time since the Indonesian league turned professional in 2003, games will be aired live abroad.

Malaysia’s sports minister, Dato Sri Ahmad Shabery Cheek, said Indonesian football had many followers in Malaysia, primarily because there were lots of Indonesians working there.

“Football has become a big industry and I hope this cooperation will bring the two countries into a closer relationship,” he said. “Perhaps there will be more Malaysian players on Indonesian clubs and vice versa.”

He said the Indonesian league was gaining more attention in his country since one of Malaysia’s top strikers, Safee Sali, moved to Pelita Jaya last season.

Since taking over the country’s football affairs, the new PSSI leadership has disbanded the Indonesian Super League, Premier Division and the breakaway Indonesian Premier League in its attempt to form a new competition.

The new professional league will have two tiers, Level 1 and Level 2. The top tier will include two conferences, East and West, with 16 clubs in each, while the second tier will have 48 clubs divided into four conferences.

The league was supposed to announce the details of the competition on Monday, but that has been pushed back to today.

“The executive committee will decide everything having to do with Indonesian football competitions — league, clubs and dates — in a meeting [on Friday],” Djohar said.

PSSI competition committee chairman Sihar Sitorus has said the league will kick off on Oct. 8, as previously announced.

“We already have schedules for next season,” he said.

SOURCE - Jakarta Globe

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