Thursday, May 05, 2016
Arema Fans Asked Not To Travel To Madura
|Bangkalan Stadium to be an Aremania free zone this weekend|
Madura is an island off the north coast of Java and is connected to the larger island by a bridge. Now while this makes things easier for people to visit the island it causes a problem for police when it comes to fans travelling to Bangkalan for games.
Java side, the bridge starts in Surabaya and that is a concern for the police. Tensions between fans of Arema and Persebaya are high at the best of times and while there may be no Persebaya as such these days their supporters, known as Bonek, haven't lost their loathing for Arema fans.
Indeed during the General Sudirman Cup Arema and Surabaya United fans clashed in the road to Sleman leaving two Arema fans dead.
Arema fans driving Malang plated vehicles would have been a magnet for Bonek up for a row this weekend while elements of the travelling support may have ideas of revenge from their road trip. While Arema fans have accepted the ban they do not discount the idea some fans may make it to the game, albeit not wearing colours.
'Madura has many Arema fans,' said a supporters club official. 'we don't just go everywhere, we are everywhere,' before adding they respected the decision from the local police force
It's sad that fans should be prevented from travelling but under the circumstances totally understandable. Rivalries are a good thing in football but for once, as far as Bill Shankly's words are concerned, football is not more important than life or death.
UPDATE 6 May - Indonesian media have been reporting Persebaya fans, known as Bonek, were out in large numbers on the approach roads to the bridge looking for Malang registered vehicles. One such vehicle was attacked and damaged even though the driver was from Madura! A bus ferrying outside broadcast equipment to Bangkalan to cover the game was also attacked by fans.
Arema stayed in a hotel in Surabaya last night due to a shortage of hotels in Bangkalan but they refused to disclose the location to the media for fear of Persebaya fans tracking them down. This rivalry is real!