Friday, July 22, 2016


Madura United Fans Respond To Alberts 'Mafia' Comments

Fans of Madura United have responded angrily to comments made by PSM coach Robert Alberts after he had seen his team lose 4-1 at Bangkalan Stadium last weekend. Alberts was irate at some of the refereeing decisions and lashed out at the football mafia that he claimed was damaging the game.

In today's Morning Show podcast I wondered where this sudden conversion had come from. Certainly while he was coach of Arema in the year they won the Indonesia Super League he wasn't too concerned about dodgy refs though he did go on the attack ahead of an away game against Persiwa.

Of course coaches must do everything they can to fight their corner. A wrong decision leads to them fearing the axe. And Alberts is right to highlight the issue of dodgy decisions, especially in the wake of the Marcio Souza scandal (the former Persela striker has been arrested in Brazil over match fixing allegations). But the very nature of dodgy decisions means we very rarely hear a victorious coach complaining when he has benefited from official favouritism on the pitch with Madura United coach Gomes Oliveria saying he didn't want to talk about the allegations. Of course he doesn't. His team won!

Madura United fan club K Conk have replied to Alberts allegations with a series of tweets that recall Arema's ISL title winning season. One tweet asks why this sudden interest in a mafia controlling football, highlighting an Arema game when they benefited from a generous referee. 

'Why till now Robert Alberts hasn't been interested in football mafia? Why weren't you interested when you were coaching Arema?'

'Remember...Arema beat Persebaya 1-0 thanks to a penalty given in 88 minutes after diving?'

'Arema were ISL champions not because (Robert Alberts) was great but because Arema were a PSSI 'pilot' club'

'How could it be a director of the league organiser could also be involved in the running of a club?'

These are of course valid questions. Too often football people remain quiet over the less than salubrious events that surround the game because it never pays to bite the hand that feeds. It is naive to expect football matches are always decided on the pitch and we are all complicit in allowing this state of affairs to continue. The players who celebrate when they score from a free kick after a tame challenge even the local TV channels are reluctant to replay; the coaches who are quick to complain when they are the losers but bask in the glow of three points now matter how earned; fans who continue to pay hard earned cash to watch their favourite team; writers who gloss over the sleaze in a vain attempt to provide a sheen or normalcy.

Alberts is a canny, experienced coach who has been round the block in South East Asian football. By shining the light on the seamier side of the game perhaps he is expecting fairer treatment in future games. An Indonesian version of the mind games the English media love to cream over in the Premier League. 

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