Saturday, December 17, 2016


Security Or Spectacle - Indonesia's Dilemma

The Indonesia Soccer Championship B Final between PSS Sleman and PSCS Cilacap has been put back a few days. It was due to be played today at Manahan Stadium in Solo as part of a double header but while the 3rd/4th place game between Perssu and Martapura goes ahead some confusion surrounds the title decider.

Earlier in the week some Persis fans, supporters of the host city's team, expressed misgiving about the presence of one group of PSS fans. There is some bad blood between fans of PSS and Persis and their proximity, about an hour or so by train, only intensifies that rivalry.

Throw into the mix a bit of history between PSS and PSCS fans and you have all the ingredients for an incendiary atmosphere at the Manahan Stadium.

Thursday there was a meeting between rival fan groups, security officials and organisers and it was decided the game would be put back from 17 December to 22 December to allow more time for a security plan to be put in place while at the same time conceding fans would also want to see Indonesia play Thailand in the final of the AFF Suzuki Cup in Bangkok.

Some Persis fans have called for the game to be played at an alternate venue or without fans from either side present. They are right to be concerned given the number of incidences of violence at football matches this year in which supporters have lost their lives.

Here in lies one of the dilemmas of Indonesian football. The terrace culture is what makes the game here so special. But for all the beauty of the spectacle on the terraces there lies in the underbelly a threat of violence that can kick off at any moment.

PSS v PSCS should be a thrilling day out. A showcase of the best of Indonesian football from its second tier...a spectacle no other nation in South East Asia can reproduce. It deserves a fitting arena and a full house. But what if elements of that full house can be prone to getting involved in largescale disorder? Nobody wants to see that.

Manahan Stadium is the favoured venue for many events. The national team have played there, it has become second home to Persija and in recent days the Liga Nusantara, ISC Under 21 and Piala Soeratin finals have gone off without a hitch. 

But this game is different. PSS fans will travel in large numbers for sure. So will fans from Cilacap. There is potential for disorder on the roads and rails to Solo as well as within the city itself. 

To move the game to Jakabaring Stadium in Palembang for example would be to almost guarantee security because the game would be played out on front of a small crowd as few fans of either team would be expected to travel so far. Is that the price we must pay and keep paying to ensure events pass off without incident?

UPDATE - the game will go ahead but the venue has been switched. Now the ISC B final will be played at Bumi Kartini Stadium in Jepara.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?