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Monday, October 19, 2015

 

After President Cup Final, What Next For Football

In a way the result was irrelevant. The record books, not that there are any, will show Persib Bandung won a competition not recognised by anyone outside of Indonesia by beating Sriwijaya 2-0 at Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta in front of 70,000 fans.

Perhaps of bigger significance is the fact that despite the gloom mongers the day passed off largely without a hitch. That more than 50,000 bobotoh could go to Jakarta, watch a game of football and then return home safely considering the rivalry that exists between them and fans of local side Persija suggests football fans are slightly more clued up than they are given credit for and perhaps the hapless administrators and politicians who eye football for their own grandstanding can learn a thing or to from them.

For once a massive security operation that had been put in place, with some reports suggesting up to 30,000 security officials in place to protect Persib fans from anyway Persija supporters who fancied a pop, seems to have in general done its job. Drenching the city, offering high profile escort and protection to the out of town visitors would have deterred all but the most foolhardy thug and while they were isolated stories of attacks there was nothing on the scale some predicted.

While football fans have shown they can do the right thing, those in control of the game must now step up to the plate. The President Cup may just be a one off event and the fact remains Indonesia remains suspended by FIFA and it doesn't look like much is being done to change that at least in the near future. Their has been talk of a FIFA delegation heading to Jakarta this month and they will only talk to PSSI. To solve the latest mess needs the government to understand it is not their job to interfere in football.

The PSSI also need to recognise they cannot carry on like they have been doing for years. All them allegations of match fixing etc don't grow on trees. Football does need reform but the reform must be football led, not involve political wannabes who see the game as an extension of their ego and influence.

Football fans have shown the way. If they can put aside their rivalry for the good of a game then surely it is now down to the men in suits to do the same. For the good of the game.

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