Tuesday, October 31, 2017


Persija v Persib Switched To Solo At Last Minute

Yesterday was Monday. Persija are due to host Persib on Friday and like we do every year we are treated to this traditional dance where the home team suggest where they would like the game to be played while the league organisers, fluttering their eyebrows and acting demurely behind a colourful fan say little to discourage the come ons.

It has been suggested the game be played at the recently renovated Bung Karno Stadium. It is being renovated so Jakarta can welcome Asia to next year's Asian Games, a high profile event. The last thing the organisers want is their showpiece venue ripped apart by irate football fans and fortunately the stadium owners have said no, they can't play the highly charged game there.

Persija have of course been playing their home games in Bekasi this season at the Patriot Stadium. It's not far from the centre of Jakarta and is easily accessible. The problem is Bekasi sits in West Java and that is Persib land. Yes, we may have seen Persija and Persib fans come together earlier in the season outside the stadium in a public show of reconciliation and there have been high profile attempts on the ground to lessen tensions at street level between the two sets of supporters but would they be forgotten come match day?

So, on Monday, Liga 1 decided the game would be played at the Manahan Stadium in Solo this Friday. Assuming both teams would want to be in town a couple of days before the game that would leave less than 48 hours for Persib and Persija to source plane tickets, hotel rooms and book training sessions. And what about the fans who need to make their own arrangements to travel to Central Java by planes, trains and buses?

Why does it take the league so long to come to the most basic of decisions? They have known all along the venue for this game could prove contentious. Hell, I've been contacted by people from overseas wanting to watch this game asking where it will be played. 

Just for once it would be nice to have football authorities get ahead of the curve when it comes to matters like these and make decisions in advance and stick to them. Assuming of course the tail isn't wagging the dog. Professional football needs professional people in positions of authority taking professional decisions for the good of the game. Dicking around with the venue of a football match four days before it is due to be played is not professional.

Everyone knows this of course. However they just wheel out that old standby, that get out of jail free card. This is Indonesia. To which of course the answer is self explanatory. Football isn't going to make any kind of progress on the international stage, let alone domestically, when the answer to any question is just a mediocre cliche.

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