Monday, March 05, 2012


Surabaya's New Stadium Opens

It's one of Indonesia's most firey encounters. Persebaya v Arema. Two East Javan giants with large, passionate support. It's one of those games where the away fans don't travel; if they do they don't wear colours and the keep a very low profile. The kinda game where the visiting team arrives at the stadium in an Armoured Personnel Carrier.

The Indonesia Premier League has struggled in this it's second season. It maybe the new official league but it is the rival ISL that gets the headlines.

Persebaya and Arema are featured in both leagues. Persebaya are in the IPL and have been since its inception but they also retain a presence in the other league where they play in the second tier and get tiny crowds.

Arema are now a mess. Fans stayed away from the ISL team, now they're staying away from the IPL.

But last weekend was a special occasion. A new stadium was being used for the first time. New stadiums in Indonesia are like peace and quiet; bloody hard to find but Bung Tomo was being used for the first time for a domestic encounter and it is quite fitting that the game should feature these two big names.

An estimated 55,000 people filled the stadium paying over 100,000USD in gate receipts which looks a little disappointing. Less than 15,000 rupiah a ticket? Don't seem right.

In a week when the PSSI brought more shame on the game and the country with the national team's 10-0 defeat away to Bahrain, which may or may not have been dodgy but I strongly suggest any investigation be expanded to cover the Qatar game in Iraq, it's great to see people turn out in force for a local game and Persebaya, sitting 3rd in the IPL, are well set up to keep the big crowds a coming.

It says much about priorities in Indonesia that the better stadiums in the country can be found in places like Soreang, Gresik, Kanjaruhan, Samarinda and Jakabaring. Look 'em up on a map!

Later this year should see Bandung's new stadium open.

Meanwhile, Jakarta gets by with the cavernous Bung Karno and, umm, that's about it 'cos Lebak Bulus is about to be demolished for a mass transit railway that may or may not happen.

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