Wednesday, March 29, 2017


Fans Have Vital Role To Play In Football's Latest New Era

I have adopted a deliberately effusive tone in recent weeks when penning my thoughts on Indonesian football, mainly because it follows the theme of my book Sepakbola - The Indonesian Way Of Life, but also because there are plenty of exciting things happening here. Sponsors are lining up to get involved with the domestic game, new clubs are adopting professional approaches, Persebaya are back, even the signing of marquee players is, on one level, a good thing.

But it seems one thing hasn't changed and unless we see a change in mindset at some levels shows no sign of disappearing any time soon.

Last week saw a train carrying Persija fans to the Cilacap Cup on the south coast come under attack from Persib fans when it stopped for a while in the Bandung area. No one was killed but families screamed in terror at the actions of a few rock throwing youths. There was also the tragedy of a Persita fan killed when the group he was travelling with at a friendly game was attacked by persons as yet unknown.

This is not about name calling. It's not about saying 'why is Jakarta Casual picking on Persib fans? He's a Persija fan.' No, I am not a Persija fan. I have friends who support Persija and Persib. I have written an introduction to a book put together by Persib fans. There is more on Persib than Persija in my book.

It's about common sense. There have been so many incidents in recent seasons of fan violence, some of which have led to supporters dying.

It matters not whether a supporter wears a green scarf, a blue scarf, an orange scarf, a purple scarf, a black scarf or a red scarf. NO FAN SHOULD DIE GOING TO OR FROM A FOOTBALL MATCH.

With some Indonesian football clubs actively looking for marquee players overseas can you just imagine the blowback in foreign media when an international footballer does an interview saying how fans die at football matches here? Foreign media tend to ignore any positives in Indonesia at the best of times, they would love such a story.

For now we have money coming into the game. The clubs need to do their bit by improving facilities at stadiums for a start, toilets are disgusting, not much in the way of refreshments are available and there are often plenty of rocks and broken bottles littering the stadium environs to give even the most reluctant of hooligan wannabe a hard on.

But fans also have a role to play. They are the ones who lose out when one of their own is killed. It is families in their communities who mourn a lost one. The media come, the media go but the empty seat at the dinner table never goes away.

The passion and fan culture in Indonesia is what keeps many foreign players entranced and prompts them to stay here for so long. We need to keep the passion, keep the rivalries that make the game here so special. But we need to stop the mindless violence that often lurks under the surface and only the fans can do that by working together.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

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